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Monday, 4 May Update

Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin

Cayman Islands' leaders hailed the reaching of a "major milestone" and announced the removal of curfew restrictions on Little Cayman as early as tomorrow. 92% of that island's population has been tested and the remainder tests are underway; there have been no positive results there.

At the COVID-19 update press conference on Monday, 4 May 2020, which had prayer led by Pastor Tom French, only one positive case was reported, through contact of a contact.

Some 20% of Cayman Brac's 2,000 population has been screened and testing is continuing so Government can make an informed decision about removal of curfew restrictions on the Brac.

Chief Medical Officer Dr. John Lee reported:

  • 600 test results today with one positive result through contact of a previous positive. That brings the total to 75 confirmed positives; of the positives, there are 31symptomatic, 28 asymptomatic, 14 recovered and two admitted at Health City, who are admitted for other reasons but are positive for COVID 19 and asymptomatic.
  • Cough is the most persistent symptom seen in the Cayman Islands. For full details, see sidebar below.
  • Numbers of individual positives in the districts are sometimes too small to be shared without danger of revealing patient ID, which will not be done.

Premier Hon. Alden McLaughlin said:

  • Premier, noting the milestone in relation to Little Cayman announced bespoke shelter in place restrictions for that island will be announced following the removal of curfew restrictions as early as tomorrow. Similarly, an announcement for Cayman Brac for which screenings tests are underway is likely for later this week.
  • Both islands will soon be free of restrictions of movement but border closings and restrictions for inter-island travel will remain strictly in place, as at present.
  • On Grand Cayman, all restrictions now in place will continue unabated for at least two more weeks as the 2,000 screenings done so far are as yet low in number and cannot inform about a representative collective picture about the spread of COVID-19 in the community. However, COVID-19 is in the Grand Cayman community, albeit small, it could still spread rapidly without the restrictions strictly followed such as social distancing, staying home unless for essential tasks, working from home and restrictions to movements.
  • Premier called for further patience from those on Grand Cayman and fervently thanked the majority who are adhering to the protocol requirements.
  • He reiterated that about 6,000 persons could be returning to the workforce from today with the extensions to essential business numbers and thereby essential workers. If no new unknown positives are the result of ongoing tests, then Government can further broaden the categories of businesses open to the public such as home hardware stores.
  • It is clear that the Cayman Islands is not likely to reopen its borders for as much as six months. Also indications are, the borders are likely to remain closed until 1 September.
  • To return back to some kind of normalcy, the community spread risk of COVID-19 has to be declared minimal by the health authorities.
  • Newly declared essential workers have to carry with them in public a copy of their employer's letter from the Competent Authority stating it is an essential business as well as a letter from their employers stating the employee is an essential worker.
  • For persons requiring registration services for records of birth, death, the General Registry will resume issuing of these certificates from Wednesday, 6 May. Hard copies cannot be collected by attending the General Registry but will be handed over to the person driving into the GAB round about and staying in their car by a security officer. They can apply for these at www.ciregistry.gov.ky or www.vitals.ky or by calling 244-3101 or 244-3103. Electronic registration of newborns is currently not available but is being worked on. For full details, see sidebar below.
  • He issued a shout out to teachers, who are currently being celebrated in the US during Teacher Appreciation Week.
  • He also gave a shout out to all children during May, which is Child Month.
  • Curfewtime staff had dealt with some 500 businesses since Friday's announcement. For those seeking to be deemed essential as a business that provides service or goods through delivery or with minimal risk of person to person contact, he asked they contact the competent authority seeking this permission at www.exploregov.ky/curfewtime.
  • It would be best for businesses, especially in the financial services industry, to allow their staff to work from home as much as possible, thereby minimising the number of persons having to congregate in enclosed office spaces.
  • "Cayman is not out of the woods yet, although can see a clearing."
  • He said the approach remains at saving lives and not to promote goodwill or reelection. Cayman needs a couple of weeks to make a proper assessment.
  • Families can play tennis in their own home court but no public court tennis.
  • He sincerely thanked the majority of persons in the Cayman Islands exercising patience and following prescribed restrictions.

His Excellency the Governor, Mr. Martyn Roper said:

  • Noting today's one positive result as "heartwarming", Governor thanked all the lab staff working on the testing. Social distancing, hand washing and wearing of masks when inside public places are the new norm for the foreseeable future.
  • He decried the leaking of district locations of positives and appealed to all to refrain from doing this which could cause real harm and distress and remain mindful of the implications of such action.
  • Cases of leaked information would be investigated.
  • The Honduran flights - one today, and one Friday, 8 May were both full.
  • The flight to San Jose, Costa Rica scheduled for 8 May still has some seats available. Cayman Airways should be directly contacted on 949-2311 for bookings.
  • The Indian borders are set to open 7 May, which was welcome news and his office is in contact with the High Commissioner in New Delhi re evacuation of Indians from the Cayman Islands. Negotiations regarding flight to Jamaica are still underway.
  • The borders in the Philippines were suddenly closed last weekend but negotiations were still underway for evacuation of Filipinos in the Cayman Islands.
  • The Royal Navy Task Force ship RFA Argus is anchored off Seven Mile Beach and will hold a reconnaissance mission with two of its helicopters along with the RCIPS helicopter tomorrow. It will also conduct a drug interdiction exercise with the RCIPS vessel Tuesday.
  • He also issued a shout out to children as well as Cayman Islands' firefighters on International Firefighter Day today.
  • Additionally, he singled out two persons in the Prison Service, Deputy Director Claire Range and Custody Manager Richard Barton for completing 39 years of continued service with Prisons.

Health Minister Dwayne Seymour said:

  • Minister emphasised the importance of wearing masks within confined public places.
  • He urged landlords for evincing kindness towards their tenants and for tenants who continue to be employed to pay their rent. He also advised all to practise frugality since it is as yet unclear how long lean times could last.
  • He also advised those having trouble coping to call the mental health helpline at 1-800-534-6463 Monday to Friday between 9 am and 5 pm.

Sidebar 1: Common Symptoms Seen in Cayman

Chief Medical Officer Dr. John Lee outlined the 10 major symptoms among positives in the Cayman Islands who have an age range of 14-85 years or an average of 42.5 years and of whom 47% are males.

The most frequent symptom is cough at 73% followed by, in that order, fever, weakness, chills, shortness of breath, diarrhoea, headache, pain, sore throat, and nausea and vomiting. A lot of them have also had abnormal CT or chest x-rays.

20% have had comorbidities (the presence of one or more conditions with a primary condition) with hypertension at 33% as the top condition, followed by neurological and chronic lung disease followed by a large number of other conditions including malignancy, Parkinsons, elevated cholesterol, benign prostatic hypertrophy, arthritis, and cardiac conditions, each with 7% of the comorbidities.

Sidebar 2: Premier Announces Reopening of Some General Registry Services

"The Cayman Islands Government is aware that members of the public have had difficulties accessing birth, death and marriage certificates during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

General Registry, the Government department in charge of this area, will resume issuing hard copies of the certificates on Wednesday, 6 May. The process is as follows:

  • All certificates must be ordered via the Registry's online system at www.ciregistry.gov.ky or www.vitals.ky. Persons will not be allowed entry into the building to make an application.
  • When ordering the certificates please select the "Hold for Pickup" option.
  • The applicant will be contacted via email or phone when the certificates are ready for collection. Please ensure that you have entered a valid phone number and or email.
  • Certificates must be paid for online using a debit or credit card. Cash or check payment on pick-up cannot be accommodated at this time.
  • Once contacted, certificates can be collected from the Government Administration Building between the hours of 9:00am and 3:00pm, Monday through Friday.
  • To collect your certificates, pull up on the roundabout by the security booth at the Government Administration Building. Please stay in your car and call 244-3101 or 244-3103.
  • A security officer will deliver your certificate to you at the roundabout.
  • The alphabetical restrictions in force by the "Shelter in Place" provisions would apply.

The public should note that Government is considering legislation to tweak the registration process for new-born children wherein registrations can be legally done via electronic means.

GIS

For further information contact: Bina Mani