Pedestrians, some not wearing face masks properly, walk along High Street, San Fernando, yesterday.

Rishard Khan

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There were five COVID-19-related deaths within 24 hours between Monday and yesterday, the highest number of deaths recorded in such a span in Trinidad and Tobago since the country’s first case of the virus on March 12.

The Ministry of Health confirmed the deaths in its late update yesterday, noting the overall deaths had gone up to 27, 19 of which have occurred since the country’s second phase of infections began on July 20 with patient 139.

Of the five deaths, three were elderly women and two were men. Two women and a man died earlier yesterday and the last fatality was listed as an adult female. The ministry said all the patients had comorbidities.

In its 10 am update yesterday, the ministry said there were 80 patients hospitalised – 15 at the Caura Hospital and 65 at Couva. Of these, six were warded in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and 13 were warded in the High Dependency Unit (HDU).

The number of active cases also grew after 38 people tested positive, one of which was in Tobago. The ministry, however, noted that these figures weren’t representative of a 24-hour increase as they included samples taken as early as August 23.

These cases bring the total number of active cases up to 1,085, with the total number of people testing positive for the virus since March climbing to 1,797. Discharges also went up to 685.

As of 10 am yesterday, the total number of patients in home quarantine was 692 with the new cases waiting to be processed by the respective County Medical Officers of Health (CMOH). In step-down/transitional facilities, there were seven patients.

Included in the number of positive patients are two police recruits who tested positive over the past week.

“During this past week, two recruits at the Police Academy in St James tested positive for COVID-19 and they have been taken to a health facility and in the interim, 39 other recruits who experienced flu-like symptoms were also removed from the academy and they are now at the facility at the University of the West Indies in St Augustine,” head of corporate communications at the T&T Police Service, Francis Joseph, told Guardian Media yesterday.

“The academy is not closed but Superintendent Norton and the other senior officers are ensuring that all protocols are adhered to and the academy is operating as normal.”

Joseph said the two recruits who tested positive were immediately removed from the academy when they became symptomatic so contact with others was limited.

Joseph wasn’t in a position to definitively confirm if sanitisation of the academy had occurred but said he expects that it would have been done. See page 6