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A health worker dressed in full PPE is seen carrying a large black bag at the Port- of-Spain General Hospital, Charlotte Street, in June

Anna-Lisa Paul

Even though the occupancy levels in the parallel healthcare system has fallen to 48 per cent, Principal Medical Officer (PMO) Dr Maryam Abdool-Richards said there still remains a high proportion of ill patients within the system.

Appearing during the media briefing hosted by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s yesterday – she claimed the gap between hospital admissions and discharges continued to narrow which was a positive indicator.

Up to yesterday morning, there was a total of 496 COVID-19 positive patients institutionalized at 16 facilities, with 371 in hospitals and 125 at step-down facilities.

Over the last week, Abdool-Richards said occupancy levels had slowly been decreasing as just under half of the beds in the parallel healthcare system were occupied.

In Trinidad, half of the beds are occupied whereas in Tobago, occupancy levels were estimated to be around 20 per cent.

With nine hospitals in the parallel healthcare system attending to critical patients, the PMO said it was only the Augustus Long Hospital that remained above 75 per cent occupancy.

With approximately 45 per cent of the patients at the ward level, Abdool-Richards said, “Even though ward level patients are decreasing in number and there is capacity to manage them, the ICU and HDU level patients continue to be quite significant meaning we have a lot of ill patients still with COVID-19.”

Within the traditional healthcare system, she claimed there continues to be a decline in the A&E admissions where COVID-19 patients would initially be assessed when they are brought in via ambulance from the community.

Meanwhile, epidemiologist Dr Avery Hinds confirmed the continuing downward trend of new case numbers falling incrementally from day to day.

He claimed, “We are seeing progressively fewer cases being identified on a day to day basis throughout the month of June and we are hoping this trend continues.”

Hinds said at the end of Week 25, they had recorded a total of 1,556 cases – and by the end of Week 26 yesterday, preliminary figures out of the lab had led them to expect, “About a 20 per cent decrease from the total last week to the total this week.”

He urged the population to continue taking precautions as deaths had occurred in persons without co-morbidities, and while the rate of transmission has been slowed, it did not “mean we are out of the woods yet.”