A Trinidadian student who tested positive for the Coronavirus (Covid-19) in Trinidad and Tobago after arriving there from Barbados had been “isolated” in the twin-island republic for almost two weeks before testing positive.
So says Chief Medical Officer Dr Kenneth George in response to concerns after Trinidadian officials earlier this week suggested that the case originated in Barbados.
Nevertheless, local authorities have embarked on a rigorous process of contact tracing that included the testing of all students still living at the University of the West Indies’ Cave Hill Campus Halls of Residence, Barbados TODAY understands.
On Tuesday, Trinidad and Tobago’s Ministry of Health revealed that the Southern Caribbean country had recorded four new cases that included a student who flew home from Barbados with a group of other Cave Hill students. Officials also insisted that the cases were all imported and stressed that the infected persons, now in the Caura Hospital, posed no threat to the society.
When contacted, Barbados’ CMO confirmed that the situation was under investigation, but stressed that the case is not “clear-cut”, as the infected student had left Barbados since June 15. He added that the student, a female upon arrival in Trinidad and Tobago, tested negative for the virus before entering mandatory quarantine at the UWI St Augustine Campus.
“It is being investigated, and what I will tell you is that a young student was moved between Barbados and Trinidad around the 15th of June and on arrival, she had a negative Covid test. It appears from our investigations that the test was repeated two weeks later to determine if she would be allowed to leave the two-week quarantine, and at that point, she tested positive,” Dr George told Barbados TODAY.
“The individual is a Trinidadian national and we are working with the [Trinidadian] authorities and the university to see if there was anyone else at risk and the contact tracing has begun,” he added.
When contacted, Cave Hill’s Communications Specialist Chelston Lovell said he could not comment on the developments, but Barbados TODAY investigations revealed that the student was living at the Cave Hill Campus.
As part of the contact tracing mandated by the Ministry of Health, just over 30 students still on campus were tested for Covid-19 on Wednesday and Thursday, while officials from Halls Administration will be tested on Friday.
“I don’t want us to come to any conclusions . . . because this is not a clear-cut case. We have started doing contact tracing from on our end, but there is a lot unknown between when she had a negative test and a positive test in Trinidad and Tobago. These include finding where persons were staying and try to methodically find persons who were in close contact with that individual,” Dr George explained.
According to the latest reports from health officials, there are no known active cases of the dreaded virus in Barbados and the last positive test was recorded more than 40 days ago.
Officials here have continued rigorous testing and according to the Government’s Covid-19 report for July 2, 65 tests were conducted over the last 24-period.
“We in Barbados have always been very transparent, and if we say we have absolutely no cases, that is the case that we will present to you. As I said, this is not a clear-cut case and we have been in contact with authorities in Trinidad and Tobago and we have been doing our own investigations here, because the facts may show otherwise,” Dr George stressed. [email protected]
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