The Public Health Department is sending five samples to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) to be tested for the coronavirus, (COVID-19).
These samples are from a number of people who have reported feeling unwell and have recently travelled to countries which are experiencing an outbreak of the disease.
The individuals in question are citizens of the Cayman Islands, and one visitor.
The nationals have been self-isolated in their own homes and are being monitored by Cayman Public Health officials.
The visitor is an inpatient at Health City Cayman Islands who was admitted for a cardiac-event, but has subsequently developed respiratory symptoms typical with cardiac recovery.
However, health officials say that out of an abundance of caution that person was also placed in isolation while test results are awaited.
The samples were sent to CARPHA on Monday, the agreed schedule for sending infectious material by courier between the Health Services Authority and the CARPHA laboratory.
The results are expected within six days.
Medical Officer of Health, Dr Samuel Williams-Rodriguez assures the public that the persons under isolation are being actively monitored by health care professionals and pose no existing risk of onward transmission.
Dr Williams reminds that this is just a precautionary test and notes that in countries with reported cases, the number of negative test results is higher than positive results.
The Public Health Department is in daily contact with all of them and they have agreed to comply with the conditions of their isolation while the results from CARPHA are awaited.
He also urges Caymanians, residents and visitors continue to practice preventive hygiene as a key safeguard against the new coronavirus.
Recommended measures include; regularly washing hands with soap and water and using alcohol-based hand sanitiser if soap and water are not available.
Covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue if available, or flexed elbow as necessary, and maintaining social distance (that is three to six feet of distancing between two people).
“These things may seem insignificant," Dr Williams says but stresses that "they have been proven to prevent infection."
"A simple way to remember your personal responsibility in mitigating the impact of COVID-19," he advises, "is to “Catch ‘em. Trash‘em. Contain ‘em.”
Meanwhile, given the global spread of the coronavirus, Chief Medical Officer Dr John Lee urges members of the public who have flu-like symptoms and feel there is a risk they may have the disease, to contact the HSA at email@example.com or via the flu hotline 1-800-534-8600.
Officials say that testing for COVID-19 in the Cayman Islands should be available within the next two weeks through the Health Services Authority.
Public Health Cayman says this will augment pre-existing testing capabilities through CARPHA.
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Anne12 Mar, 2020
I was in Cayman from Feb 12-17, staying at the Marriott Hotel. We arrived n departed on a Delta flight. Is there any chance COVID 19 was on the island at that time?