A nurse administers oxygen to a patient at the viral tent at the San Fernando General Hospital. (Image: KRISTIAN DE SILVA)

Active COVID-19 cases are currently more than double 2020’s record at the height of the pandemic last September. Yesterday, the Ministry of Health reported 565 new cases, the second-highest jump in daily reported cases, taking the country’s active cases to a record high of 5,214. Active cases include COVID-19-positive people isolated at home, in step-down facilities, or hospitals across the country.

Nine more people died.

T&T’s total COVID-19 cases now stand at 15,379, with the new cases originating from samples collected during the 72 hours from May 10 through May 13.

The Ministry of Health has indicated that the country’s positivity rate stood above 40 per cent on Wednesday. This means for every 100 samples collected for testing, at least 40 returned COVID-19 positive.

May’s COVID-19 death toll nears 100

In the last 14 days, the country has reported 96 COVID-19-related deaths. The nine deaths included four elderly males, four middle-aged males and one elderly female, all with comorbidities. This also marked the third-highest jump in daily reported deaths since the pandemic began, tied with May 11.

T&T’s death toll has risen to 265. The first five months of 2021 have recorded 138 deaths versus 127 deaths in 2020. T&T’s mortality rate for May 2021 is now at 2.11 per cent, meaning that at least two people may die for every 100 COVID-19 cases.

Record high hospitalised patients

Hospitalisation occupancy levels remain high across the country, showing little change through much of May 2021.

With 365 in hospital, this marks the highest number of patients since the pandemic began. T&T’s overall COVID-19 hospital occupancy stands at 54 per cent across all levels of care in both islands, with a slightly higher 58 per cent when only accounting for Trinidad’s beds.

Based on the latest numbers from the Ministry of Health, there are 153 patients hospitalised at the Couva Hospital and Multi-Training Facility, marking a 71 per cent occupancy. The Caura Hospital currently is at an 84 per cent occupancy level. At Arima General Hospital, there is a 78 per cent occupancy. The Augustus Long Hospital is reporting a 90 per cent occupancy.

At the Point Fortin Hospital, with two patients warded, there is a five per cent occupancy level. With ten beds available for psychiatric patients who test COVID-19 positive, the St Ann’s Hospital remains at zero per cent capacity. The UTT Valsayn campus is at 68 per cent occupancy. At the UWI Debe campus, 70 per cent of beds are occupied.

According to the ministry’s numbers, the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and High Dependency Unit (HDU) at the Couva Hospital are at 13 and 66 respectively.

This results in a 72 per cent occupancy at Couva’s ICU. The hospital’s HDU capacity is variable, as the difference between a ward-level bed and an HDU bed means the requirement of oxygen via a face mask for a patient and an increased nurse-to-patient ratio.

Recoveries on the rise

With more cases, naturally, the number of recoveries will also increase. Yesterday, the ministry reported 50 patients discharged from public health facilities and 106 recovered cases for those who were COVID-19-positive and self-isolating at home. With 156 being reported recovered in 24-hour period, this marked the fifth-highest jump in recovered cases.

Tobago cases spike

In the last 24 hours, Tobago reported ten new COVID-19 cases and five discharged patients. These figures have taken the island’s active cases to a record high of 70.

Tobago’s hospital occupancy is at 25 per cent, with now two patients in ICU, increasing from one patient yesterday.