By Staff Writer
An urgent appeal has been made for residents to strictly adhere to the COVID-19 protocols as the number of community cases continues to increase.
At the same time adjustments have been made to the quarantine period with Public Health announcing an immediate reduction in the isolation period for primary contacts of a positive COVID-19 case to 10 days.
This is based on everyone in the same household being fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to the contact with a vaccine that is on the Chief Medical Officer’s approved list.
“Please follow the guidance from Public Health about your release from isolation,” urges Chief Medical Officer Dr John Lee, who also explained that “if unvaccinated people, including children, are part of your household then you will need to continue to observe 14 days of isolation until being released following Public Health instruction.”
He said this does not affect households where there is a positive case. These households must follow the guidance from Public Health staff.
According to the outgoing CMO, as Cayman movies forward with its reopening plans, the isolation period will be under constant review.
With the recent outbreak of community cases, high volume testing is being carried out with 2,255 PCR tests processed last weekend alone and a further 1,232 PCR done on Tuesday.
Most of those tests were mainly of students and teachers associated with Prospect Primary School, Triple C School, Cayman Academy, John Grey High School, Clifton Hunter High School and two other pre-schools.
That alone showed up 38 incidents of community spread of the virus out of the 52 positive cases. The other 14 from that batch were from people exiting quarantine after travel.
Subsequent tests on the following days continued to show positive community-spread cases especially linked to schools, with 10 identified among members of the community, mostly staff and students from Clifton Hunter High School and additionally from First Baptist Christian School.
According to Dr Lee, “In view of the fact that infection is fairly widespread, I wish to remind people to please take good care of themselves and their community members by wearing masks in indoor places, keeping distanced, using appropriate cough and sneeze etiquette and practising appropriate hand hygiene.
He also said: “Those who are clinically vulnerable and the elderly need special attention to this for their own part and those who interact with them. Please follow Public Health's guidance if you are asked to isolate; this is vital to reduce and slow the spread of infection through our community.”
In a video message in which he stressed the gravity of the situation, the CMO stated that he was “not really able to continue to give precise locations for all of these positive cases as they're becoming quite widespread.”
Dr Lee also addressed the issue of positive cases being uncovered as people leave quarantine.
“We know, time and time again that people at the end of an isolation period can test positive, which is why it's so important to stay isolated for the entire period, and not to breach. What we're attempting to do by these isolations, is to slow the spread of COVID throughout the community so that our hospitals are never overwhelmed, we can always cope.”