Members of the public wait outside the San Fernando Teaching Hospital, Chancery Lane earlier this month.

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Despite concerns and complaints raised by outpatients around the country, Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram has said the clinics, for the most part, are operating.

During the Ministry of Health’s press conference yesterday, Dr Parasram said most clinics would not operate in the traditional manner, but care was still be provided for outpatients.

“The clinics are still functioning, we are making sure importantly that they may not function in the same light that we seeing every person within a cubicle, what we are making sure is that the persons that are well and returning for their prescriptions, that they are getting prescriptions filled, they have medications to last the period in between their transition which is normally two to three months,” said the CMO.

He said medication required would be provided.

“They have a prescription refilled and that they all have their medication. Of course if anyone is acutely ill, we have the enhanced health centres, we have the district health facilities as well as the A&Es throughout the country. If you have uncontrolled diabetes, uncontrolled hypertension you can visit these places as per usual,” said Dr Parasram.

The statement came one day after the Minister of Health gave assurances that the country’s health facilities were fully operational. However, several outpatients have complained about their clinics being cancelled or postponed.

Earlier in the press conference, Dr Lisa Indar, Assistant Director of Surveillance Disease Prevention and Control at CARPHA, spoke on testing standards followed by the Agency which she said fell in line with World Health Organization Standards.

“The laboratory currently tests all suspect cases that meet the criteria as recommended by the WHO case definition. Currently, samples can only be sent to CARPHA from designated national health laboratory in a country. So for Trinidad, this means the Trinidad Public Health Laboratory,” said Dr Indar who also explained the country had been following the internationally accepted criteria for discharge of COVID-19 patients who tested positive. “Two consecutive negative results separated by a 24-hour period,” she said.

“First, if a person is tested positive for COVID-19, they would be required to be isolated at a government health facility for a 14-day period before any repeat testing can be done. After those 14 days, the COVID test will be repeated. If repeated and it is positive, then it will be retested after a seven-day period.”

Dr Parasram also clarified that the Eastern Regional Health Authority was not the only RHA responsible for finding step down facilities, but had simply been the first to operationalise them.

“The North Central Regional Health Authority is handling the bulk of the COVID positive patients in their two facilities Couva and Caura. So Eastern Regional Health Authority started off with Balandra and then they were able to get Sangre Grande up and running. Other RHAs are being asked to get similar facilities up and running. Southwest is looking at a couple facilities at present, which we hope to get up and running very soon,” said Dr Parasram, who explained all RHAs had been tasked with finding facilities.

Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh said he had not read the report concerning the selection of the Brooklyn Settlement facility during the conference, and did not give an update concerning its selection.