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Epidemiologis Dr Avery Hinds

After weeks of urging citizens to adhere to the public health regulations and observe the parameters set out by the State of Emergency (SOE) which took effect on May 15, health officials have reported that it is bearing fruit as emerging patterns indicate there has been a slowing in the number of cases being recorded between mid-May to present.

Speaking during the media briefing at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s, on Saturday, epidemiologist Dr Avery Hinds said data showed the virus peaked around the middle of May. Data collected between May 30 and June 3 indicated a ten per cent decrease overall in the number of cases recorded, over the previous week.

Presenting the statistics, Hinds added, “The measures that were implemented are beginning to bear fruit.”

Meanwhile, Principal Medical Officer Dr Maryam Abdool-Richards said recent trends show that “there continues to be a narrowing of the gap between hospital admissions and discharges.”

Operating 15 step-down facilities and hospitals within the parallel healthcare system, she said “Over the last week or so, we have noticed a plateauing in the total number of COVID positive patients requiring care at hospitals.

Admitting to the slow decline in the last week, Abdool-Richards said several beds had been added to the ward-level category which was the first point for people needing health care and there had been a decline in this area also, while ICU and HDU occupancy levels remained at 90 per cent and 82 per cent on Saturday, respectively.

The PMO urged the public not to drop their guard just yet and encouraged them to continue enforcing public health regulations to wear masks, wash hands, social distance.

Warning that the fight is not over despite the sliver of hope the reduced numbers represented, Thoracic Medical Director Dr Michelle Trotman implored the population to get vaccinated.

“When the vaccine is presented to you, take it, whichever it is,” she said.

Questioned if the authorities would consider vaccinating children 12 years and older as is currently being done in the US, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said, “They are not in the forefront of our programme right now.”

He said the Government’s focus remained on ensuring that as much of the adult population was inoculated as possible.

Rowley said once children-approved vaccines become available, this country would make a bid to acquire it.

Hardware stores remain closed

And although hardware stores were told to close their doors one week ago, no permission has been granted to reopen just yet as some of these people would not have been vaccinated.

Asked to indicate Government’s position in response to claims that some employers were pressuring workers to become vaccinated, Rowley said, “There are laws and labour laws. Nobody is asking anybody to act illegally but you can act sensibly.”

He said if an unvaccinated person is asked to work elsewhere because of their decision, once people cooperate with the authorities to get vaccinated, there should be no issue but of course, some people may have good reasons.

8 COVID deaths, 391 new cases

The Ministry of Health has recorded eight additional COVID-19 related deaths. The people were four elderly males and three middle-age females with comorbidities, as well as one middle-aged man without comorbidities. This brings the total number of deaths to 564. The Ministry has also recorded 391 new cases in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of active cases to 10,064. There are currently 421 patients in the hospital, of which 44 are in HDU and 15 in ICU.