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Stephen Crooks-husband of COVID fatality

Camille McEachnie

Imagine being married for more than 18 years, seeing your hubby healthy one week and the next week, dead.

That is Stephen Crooks’ predicament after his wife Diane died of COVID-19 on Tuesday night.

She is one of two women with comorbidities who died overnight in Tobago, bringing the number of deaths to four in May and six since May 2020.

“Coronavirus is not a joke. It’s going to take life. It’s going to take your loved one’s life and it’s going to take your life,” Crooks told Guardian Media yesterday.

In tears, a grieving Crooks urged people to put aside their differences when they are still alive, especially if married for years.

He described his wife as a loving person who put her children first, making sure they were alright.

The 62-year-old wife and mother was one of two women who died from a COVID-related illness on Tuesday night. The other was a 71-year-old with comorbidities.

Crooks, who is in quarantine, told Guardian Media his wife began feeling ill about one week ago.

He said he heard hospital authorities were running some tests and then the sudden news came of her death.

The two overnight deaths came amid a surge in cases in Tobago.

According to the Health, Wellness Family Development Division, there were 12 new cases yesterday; 25 cases on Tuesday; one case on Monday and 13 on Sunday (May 16), bringing the total to 51 cases in four days.

During that same period, 17 people were discharged from the island’s parallel health system. The total active cases now stand at 100.

Health Secretary Tracy Davidson-Celestine said she was concerned about a shortage in medical personnel to attend to COVID-19-infected patients if cases on the island continue to rise.

Speaking on CNC3’s The Morning Brew, Davidson-Celestine said Tobago’s parallel health system was taking a beating.

She said there were two systems to test for the virus on the island.

“One, we have our PCR machine, located at the Scarborough General Hospital and we use that to provide us with information so that we can make decisions overnight. We also do batch testing and we work with PHL in Trinidad to have those tests done for us within a particular time frame.”

She said while bed capacity is not an immediate issue, the real threat is a lack of human resources to treat positive cases.

“In terms of bed space, we have space because we still have an unused hospital at Roxborough, with about 24 or so beds. We have some private spaces that have been loaned to us that can be easily turned (into a COVID facility) overnight. There are up to 40 beds in that case,” Davidson-Celestine said.

“The challenge is not the bed space. The challenge is, of course, finding senior staff who would help us to monitor those spaces. I am sure you have heard for every bed that you provide there is a team of doctors and nurses that must be provided as well.”

She said authorities have been re-deploying health officials from primary and secondary care to treat people infected with the virus.

Having taken the first dose of the two-dose Astra-Zeneca vaccine, she appealed to the public to adhere to the COVID regulations and recently imposed curfew.