Recent trends are suggesting that what could be regarded as the first major wave of COVID-19 in Cayman might be receding.
In the past two weeks, a slow but gradual decline has been observed in the number of positive cases reported in the weekly updates.
According to the latest update from the Cayman Islands Government (CIG) via the Health Service Agency (HSA), as at 8 a.m. on Monday, 6 December Chief Medical Officer Dr John Lee reported that of the 1,777 PCR tests had been conducted since 8 a.m. on Friday, 3 December, the Public Health Department reported 127 positive results from these tests, with two in travellers and 125 coming from the community.
That averages around 42 new cases per day, far less than the previous average of over 150 per day with cases topping over 300 on some days in October.
The Public Health department current reports mainly on weekly trends in the ongoing community spread of COVID-19 in Cayman which is dominated by the Deta strain.
To date, there are no reports yet of the new Omicron variant in Cayman which is now said to be more contagious than the Delta variant although studies are yet to determine if it causes more severe illness.
The results published on Monday which span the period from Friday, December 3rd put the total number of cases recorded since the pandemic showed up in Cayman last year at 7,663.
Caymanian Times tracking shows that the rate of increase has actually slowed, going from 7324 on December 1st, to 7444 on December 2nd, 7529 on December 3rd, and the 7663 total on Monday.
Total active cases in the jurisdiction are 3,656 which still puts Cayman among countries with the highest number of cases in the region and compounded by the fact that the large majority are community spread.
For the Sister Islands, Faith Hospital confirmed there were 11 active cases down from the recent spurt in the islands which are considered to be particularly vulnerable.
Official figures show that to date a total of 120 cases have been in the Sister Islands, with 109 having recovered. Out of the total number of cases in the Sister Islands, 62 were fully vaccinated, six were partially vaccinated, and 52 were unvaccinated.
Currently, 15 people are hospitalised due to COVID-19, a figure which also reflects a continuing downward trend in the number of patients requiring medical attention. It peaked at 29 late last month.
The number of people not requiring hospitalisation has been increasing with the latest tracking going from 3848 at the beginning of December to 3641 by this past Monday.
In all, 3998 people have recovered from their bout with COVID-19 showing an increase of 704 recoveries from the 3294 recorded between December 1st and December 6th.
This downward trend is also noted in the number of people in isolation. That number has dropped from 4500 at the start of this month to 3852, a reduction of 648.
However, there's a concern about the repercussions on the re-opened economy with workers being off the job as a precaution if they have been in contact with someone who tested positive.
On a sad note, the number of deaths has increased, although still among the lowest in the region.
Nine people have succumbed to causes linked to the virus - seven more than in all of 2020 and all of them occurring within the past three months of the current wave.
The number which stood at six on December 1st had increased to nine by last weekend.
But while infections decrease overall, there’s one aspect of the slowing pace of COVID-19 in Cayman that’s of concern.
The vaccination rate shows signs of stalling from a peak where Cayman was a world leader both with the testing rate in the past year and following that an aggressive and responsive vaccination campaign.
There have been suggestions of what some describe as ‘pandemic fatigue’ combined with the reluctance of vaccine-hesitant persons.
For the past three months, the vaccination rate has been hovering at around 80 per cent average for first and second doses, with booster shots picking up slowly.
The official report shows that up to 8 a.m. on Monday, 6 December there had been 126,662 COVID-19 vaccinations given in total. Of these, 58,273 people (82% of 71,106) had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Meanwhile, 56,311 individuals (79%) had completed the two-dose course.
Additionally, 12,522 people (representing 18% of the total population) had received a third or booster dose up to that point.
With the borders now open and the highly transmissible Omicron variant sweeping through an increasing number of countries, health experts and governments globally are re-emphasising the necessity and urgency of being vaccinated.
That's a call that should resonate here in Cayman.