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Tuesday, 19 May Update

Tuesday 19 May Update

At the COVID-19 press conference today, Tuesday 19 May 2020, 17 positive cases were announced, out of 1182 results screened over the long weekend.

Cayman Islands leaders urged persons to remain cautious, practise social distancing, handwashing etiquette and wear a mask in enclosed, public spaces, in spite of the relaxing of restrictions which came into effect today on Grand Cayman.

Chief Medical Officer, Dr. John Lee reported:

• Out of 1182 test results conducted over the long weekend (1088 at HSA and 94 at Doctors Hospital), 17 positives from the screening programme were reported (including two cases in Cayman Brac and two at HMP Northward) and 1165 negatives.

• With these numbers, the average positive rate is 1.44% (17 positives out of 1182 tests). The highest the average positive rate has been in the past is 2.57%,

• Screening of frontline health workers is complete and testing of other frontline workers, including a considerable number of supermarket workers, is well underway, including the majority of the prison having been tested; screening is now also underway for the construction industry.

• Out of 111 positive cases so far, 3 have occurred in Cayman Brac, 12 are symptomatic, 43 are asymptomatic, no persons are currently in hospital and 55 persons have recovered.

• The ‘flu clinic had 10 visits between 15 and 18 May and the ‘flu hotline had 62 calls but 52 were not related to symptoms, they were administrative calls, such as persons inquiring about test results.

• HSA’s testing equipment will undergo a scheduled maintenance day on Thursday, 21 May.

Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin said:

• The message today is that with 17 new positives, all being asymptomatic and discovered through enhanced testing, the real indication is that the virus is still very much about us and across the community although the prevalence is very low. The need to physically distance yourself, wash your hands regularly and wear a mask in enclosed public spaces has not abated.

• Government’s strategy regarding reopening the economy is being implemented in a controlled and managed way, so that the virus does not take off in the community making the measures we have implemented thus far redundant. We do not want the hard work and sacrifices that we’ve all contributed to so far, be in vain and so we proceed carefully and slowly.

• Testing of the construction sector has started and will continue over the next two weeks. The NRA staff that were tested have restarted roadworks and good progress was made over the long weekend.

• The economy is reopening, albeit slowly. We want this to be a success; we do not want to suffer the setbacks seen in other jurisdictions. For the foreseeable future, we will have to practise the new social behaviours adopted during the pandemic until a vaccine is found or the virus burns out.

• We are not contemplating opening our borders until it’s safe to do so.

• The Legislative Assembly will meet tomorrow (Wednesday, 20 May) to discuss a number of bills related to the financial services industry. If the session carries over into Thursday, the press briefing will be postponed until Friday 22 May.

His Excellency the Governor, Mr. Martyn Roper said:

• 17 cases over four days, with 1182 tests completed is a sign of outstanding work by those conducting the testing.

• The Cayman Islands has tested 10% of the population, placing us eighth in global testing per head.

• As we open up the economy, do not let your guard down. Stay home where possible.

• Fast and effective work has been done by the Prison Director and his staff. Prison-wide screening ensures the wellbeing and safety of staff and inmates.

• The evacuation flight to Manila, Philippines via London on Saturday, 23 May is now full.

• Further flights to Miami will be arranged, but will not bring anyone back to the Cayman Islands as the Government Isolation facility is currently at capacity.

• Progress is being made with Indian authorities to organise an evacuation flight. But no progress on Jamaica or Nicaragua flights at this stage.

• One member of the UK logistics and assistance team tested weakly positive for COVID-19 before returning a negative result; out of an abundance of caution, the remaining team will stay in isolation for the next ten days.

Health Minister Dwayne Seymour said:

• The Ministry of Health has produced guidance with Public Health to ensure workplaces are safe for employees returning to work.

• During the phased reopening of the economy, employers will be required to implement health and safety measures, including designating officers to implement and coordinate systems.

• Employees who can continue to work from home should continue to do so, otherwise employers should implement measures like split shifts and staggered work hours.

• Face masks and PPE must be worn as appropriate and necessary and good hand washing hygiene must be ensured.

• The first priority must be a person’s health.

For further information contact: Caroline James