A group of pedestrians wearing face masks to protect against COVID-19 cross the intersection of Broadway and South Quay, Port-of-Spain, yesterday.

Rishard Khan

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Trinidad and Tobago has now recorded over 100 COVID-19 deaths since its first infection was recorded almost eight months ago on March 12.

The latest deaths recorded yesterday by the Ministry of Health were an elderly male and female with pre-existing medical conditions and one female. Their deaths took the toll up to 101, 93 of which occurred over the country’s second phase of infection which began on July 20 with case 139. The first death locally was recorded on March 25.

Commenting on the unfortunate milestone shortly after the update was given, Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh told Guardian Media it was another wake-up call.

“My condolences go out to all the families. With each death, a family loses a loved one. It’s not a statistic to us,” he said.

“I am hoping number 100 would resonate with people who are still not taking this virus seriously and are still not doing the simple things like wearing masks, social distancing and so on.”

He urged the public to adhere to the health protocols and keep their “home environment – especially if there are elderly people – free from visitors. Don’t let the virus come into your home and infect the elderly.”

The majority of fatalities from the virus have so far been elderly, male and those with pre-existing medical conditions.

His appeal comes as three major events are in citizens’ sights – Halloween, Divali and Christmas and New Years – activities which entail visiting households.

But Deyalsingh warned, “This year has to be a year where we give up these things otherwise the death toll will continue to go up.”

Despite the increase in deaths, Deyalsingh said there is some light at the end of the tunnel – a decrease in the average number of cases being reported daily.

“That’s a good thing to be celebrated but we must continue with the public health measures,” he said

“Some people are interpreting this drop in cases to mean I don’t have to wear a mask, I don’t have to social distance. But as we move forward, we have to continue with the simple public health measures as slightly inconvenient as they may be. “

The Ministry of Health confirmed 59 additional infections yesterday but noted this does not represent an increase over a 24-hour period, as it included sample results taken between October 18-20.

The number of active cases decreased yesterday to 1,459 after 74 people were released from the ministry’s care – 10 were discharged from public health facilities while 64 were released from home self-isolation as recovered community cases. Of the remaining active cases, 1,334 are in home self-isolation.

The released patients brought the total number of recovered patients up to 3,832. There were 75 patients at hospitals, 50 at step-down/transitional facilities and 280 in state quarantine facilities.