Two more cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the Cayman Islands bringing the number to three.
In making the disclosure on Thursday Chief Medical Officer Dr John Lee reported that "following 40 news tests which were completed on Tuesday, of these 29 tests that originated from the Health Services Authority were negative.
He went to inform that “of the tests that we are awaiting results from Health City two samples were positive for the Covid disease and nine were negative.”
“We currently have seven outstanding tests which we are running at the moment.”
These test results remain preliminary until the results are confirmed by CARPHA.
The new cases are staff at Health City who were associated with treating a cruise ship passenger who died from complications related to COVID-19.
Dr Lee said staff who would have had contact with the deceased have been isolated, adding that risk assessment and contact tracing was carried out by a visiting team from Public Health England.
“Even though we have announced the preliminary results," he said, "everybody will remain on isolation until the results are confirmed.”
The CMO explained that said that under protocols of the World Health Organisation(WHO) the new confirmed cases are not classified as community transmission as the contact was a traveller.
Dr Lee also stressed that there was no need for alarm.
“The advice doesn’t change from the advice we’ve been giving all the while which is maintain your distance and keep your hands clean, take respiratory precautions."
I wouldn’t advise wearing masks, he said.
Commenting after Dr Lee’s update, Hon. Premier Alden McLaughlin stressed the importance for the public to treat the coronavirus outbreak seriously and change behaviours.
Noting the travel habits of Caymanians and visitors to the islands, he said “it is almost inevitable that there will be other people in this community who will test positive for Covid-19.
“That is why the protocols and the advice we continually give about how to change your behaviours in light of this global health threat are so important.”
The Premier is however confident that Cayman can avoid what he described as “the meltdown that we’ve seen in other places, but that is only possible as a result of changed behaviour.”
He stressed the importance of Caymanians returning to the territory from abroad to observe the protocols and behave responsibly.
Those persons are required to self-isolate for 14 days.
In stressing just how important this is, Mr McLaughlin expressed the hope that “everyone single one of them - and not just the students - follow the protocols and behave responsibly in their own interest and that of the community.”
He referred to examples of people who should better, "coming off a plane and heading straight for their office" ignoring the protocols and putting themselves and the rest of the community - including their staff and family - at risk.
His Excellency the Governor Martyn Roper echoed the views of both the Premier and the CMO.
He said there was enormous public concern as the health authorities had the matter well in hand.
The Governor also stressed the importance of the public behaving responsibly and particularly advising against the spreading of fake news.
If that persists he warned, firm steps will be taken against the perpetrators.
With Cayman now having its own Covid testing facility, the only one in the Overseas Territories, CMO Dr Lee said additional reagents (testing kits) have been ordered from the Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO) and Pubic Health England.
The kits from PAHO have already been shipped.
He noted that Public Health England itself was under enormous pressure due to the extent of the outbreak in the UK and demand on its services.