Chief Medical Officer, Dr Roshan Parasram.

There has been a small rise in COVID-19 cases in the country and it has prompted the Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram to renew calls for citizens to remain vigilant as he blames complacency for the increased numbers.

Speaking during a Ministry of Health virtual press conference on Monday, Dr Parasram noted the increase came within the last week.

“First we had seven (cases), then we had a spike of 10 and now we have 14 over the last 24 hours,” he said.

“Prior to that, we had been hovering anywhere between a seven-day rolling average of 3 or four for upwards of over a month or more.”

The cases, he indicated, all came from County Caroni where there were about three major clusters.

“Those clusters would have possibly been involving two families, places of work and we really saw that from one individual being infected- that one person was able to spread it to quite a large number of people in a short space of time,” he said.

This, he said, brings the seven-day rolling average up to seven.

This is why Dr Parasram reminded citizens to remain vigilant at all times.

“We are listed in Trinidad and Tobago as community spread. We have not changed that designation for quite a while now. When we look at the classification from WHO (the World Health Organisation) we are at somewhere where we can be classified as low community spread. This incident or incidents we are seeing in Caroni is reason for us to contain our vigilance throughout the country.

“COVID-19 is here. It is in the country. It hasn’t gone away and there has been a little complacency over the last couple of weeks because of the low numbers in my view,” Dr Parasram said.

T&T has been listed as experiencing community transmission since August 15, 2020, and despite relatively low levels of transmission, the country is yet to climb back down to cluster cases.

This cluster, he said, had the potential to cascade into a more significant outbreak “in a very short space of time.”

Professor of Molecular Genetics and Virology at the University of the West Indies, Christine Carrington has been conducting genomic sequencing on test samples at the university to identify the presence of COVID-19 variants. Out of some 150 samples tested from T&T, she said two variants- the UK and Brazil- were detected and successfully contained. However, she said they were able to detect about 48 different lineages of the virus throughout the region. She could not recollect the exact figure of how many were in circulation in T&T but indicated it was less than 10 and was not of any particular danger.