A third death has been linked to the COVID-19 virus in Cayman.
The individual, a 73-year-old man, passed away at the Health Services Authority(HSA) George Town hospital on Saturday.
A government statement says while the cause of death was unrelated to COVID-19, the death must be counted among our pandemic-related statistics due to his positive status.
“The deceased who was unvaccinated against COVID-19 is said to have had pre-existing health conditions with recurring hospital admissions over the past year.
“He was most recently admitted on 11 November with health issues unrelated to COVID-19 and his case was reported in the daily COVID-19 figures as one of the patients in the Critical Care Unit on Friday, 12 November,” the statement said.
It’s the only COVID-related death in the Cayman Islands to date for this year. The other two occurred in 2020.
This death comes at a time when Cayman is recording some of the highest daily infection rates in the region but with a comparatively small number of hospitalisations and deaths.
In a statement Sunday, Hon. Premier Wayne Panton said: “ Regardless of the circumstances, this is a day that none of us wished to become a reality, and truthfully there is nothing that can sufficiently prepare a family for the death of a loved one.”
He went on to state: “We live in a community that places the highest value on life. We are all interconnected and our lives intersect in countless ways. No doubt, this individual leaves behind family members and loved ones who are deeply impacted by this loss. Because we value each life and each individual, now is not the time to reduce his life to a mere statistic.”
Premier Panton has pleaded with the community to “set aside the arguments, debates and division and focus instead on displaying our empathy, care and kindness to those who are grieving right now.”
In expressing his condolences to the family, he said: “I ask that in a display of humanity and compassion we respect the privacy of the bereaved family as they mourn.”
And words addressed directly to the family he added: “I would like to assure you that you are not suffering this loss alone. While I fully acknowledge that at this moment there are no words that can truly ease the pain you are feeling, the Cayman Islands is still a closely connected community and I am certain that you will no doubt receive an outpouring of support from the community.”
In what is seen as a reference to the current community spread outbreak of COVID-19 Mr Panton noted:
“This is a poignant reminder for all of us in our community. Let us commit ourselves to doing everything we can to protect those who are vulnerable. Know your COVID status. Adhere to the regulations and practice the well-known COVID safety measures.
“Even though our numbers of hospitalizations and serious illness have remained low throughout the pandemic, the loss of even one life is too great.”
He commended the medical staff for their “hard work and care” saying that they have been “fighting valiantly to care for each and every patient in our hospitals.”
“There is no doubt the past few hours have been tough for them as well,” he added.
“This is indeed a difficult moment for us all, but let us remember above all that amongst us there is a family in pain.”