A new series of control measures have been put in place by Cayman Islands Government (CIG) to “control and manage” the spread of COVID-19 in the community.
The new regulations were outlined by Hon. Minister for Health and Wellness, Sabrina Turner, during a government press conference on Thursday.
Mainly tweaks and updates of restrictions put in place at the onset of the pandemic last year, Min. Turner said the emphasis is less on “elimination” and more on “control and management”.
The main focus of the current restrictions are the Sister Islands to shield them from the outbreak of locally transmitted cases which have been identified in Grand Cayman.
A government release had stated that “the Sister Islands have a high number of vulnerable persons and do not have the Intensive Care resources that Grand Cayman currently has.”
According to Min. Turner, “We are having to learn from the many valuable lessons that have taken away from over the past two weeks from those lessons we have identified or increases or need to increase in capabilities and resources and even in coordination, which will be the key to our very own coexisting with COVID as we turn, and enter into the reopening of our borders, but most importantly, opening our borders, safely. With these new measures, you know, it provides the country and our people with the means to live a normal life as possible with reasonable precautions that will need to be modified as time goes by, as we has seen here and in the Georgetown Primary School outbreak.”
The new measures affect travel to the Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, limit the number of people on boats and in public gatherings, extend the quarantine period for arriving travellers, reimpose geo-tracking, and stipulate mask-wearing and social distancing.
They will be in effect initially until November 22nd with the possibility of extending to the end of the year, however, Min. Turner said the regulations could be reviewed and adjusted as the situation evolves in the coming weeks.
“These regulations are very fluid, they're very flexible, even though a number of them have an expiry date that runs to the 22nd of November, or to the end of the year, as we adjust and assess what's going on within our community from a public health risk, where we can see that transmission and the spread has somewhat been identified.”
The Health and Wellness minister said: “We can track exactly where we are with those numbers, we can always come back to any of these regulations make the necessary amendments to ease back in to what we have grown to be accustomed to.”
The three sets of Regulations under the Public Health Act that are currently in effect can be viewed at the following links:
Three more identified cases of community spread of COVID-19 this week have taken the total to 28 as health authorities continue testing and tracing for other persons who may have been exposed to the virus locally.
There have been concerns surrounding an employee at Doctors Hospital who had tested positive and linked to the community outbreak.
An earlier official statement said it is believed that the risk to the public through this person’s work is low because of the use of personal protective equipment.
Doctors Hospital are said to be working closely with Public Health to assist with contact tracing.
The Doctors Hospital screenings are run separately to the inpatient and outpatient services.
An update Thursday on the community outbreak by the outgoing Chief Medical Officer, Dr John Lee, suggested that the outbreak appeared to be subsiding.
“Just to give you an update on the various community cases of the seven community cases in total from the eighth of September incident; There remains one person in hospital and that person is stable. All others related to that case are asymptomatic. For the Georgetown Primary School event first reported or first recognised on the 13th of September, there are a total of 18 children involved, and three adults.”
He also said, “Originally there were seven children that were symptomatic this number has now gone down to two children remaining mildly symptomatic.|The others are all feeling well. They're also two adults who are mildly symptomatic.”
The CMO reported that over the past two weeks, there have been over 10,000 PCR tests across the community including tests at other schools.
“I have to say a lot of that has been in response to people's concerns,” the CMO stated.
In all, 624 PCR tests have been done since the previous report on Wednesday revealing three new cases among travellers. There have been a total of 105,823 COVID-19 vaccinations, of which 54,852 are first doses representing around 77 per cent of the population of 71,106, while 50,962 people - 72 per cent of the population - have completed the two-dose course of the vaccine.
So far, nine people have had a third or booster dose prioritised due to their health status. The booster shots are not available to the wider public.
A breakdown by age groups shows a high vaccination rate with almost all persons over 40 years having received their first dose.
The other eligible age groups are also showing a high uptake:12 – 17 at 73%, 18 – 29 at 81%, 30 – 39 at 87%, 40 – 49 at 93%, 50 – 59 at 96% and 97% among those 60 years and over.