The Gamma Variant also known as the Brazilian or P1 variant has been detected in Tobago and health officials say this is fueling the increase in cases on the island. Through a press release, the TRHA announced that the island recorded its first case of the Gamma Variant and testing will be ramped-up for variants of concern.

According to the release, systems are also being prepared to deal with the Delta variant, which is now the dominant strain globally. The Delta variant is responsible for all major spread and most unvaccinated deaths in the United Kingdom, United States and other countries.

The Gamma variant which is more contagious than the previous strains of COVID-19 was originally detected on April 22, in Trinidad. Acting County Medical Officer, Dr Tiffany Hoyte, said: “the Gamma variant circulating in our community is contributing to the rise in cases. The presence of this variant means that the fight to save lives and to reduce the spread of the virus will become more difficult.”

According to Dr Hoyte, the P1 or Gamma variant is more contagious than the original virus, and officials expect to see more cases, and with more cases comes more deaths. Today the island recorded 38 new positive COVID-19 cases and 2 additional deaths, a 62-year-old female with no comorbidities and an 81-year-old male with comorbidities. The island’s total number of active COVID-19 cases now stands at 357.

Reporter: Loyse Vincent