Secretary of Health, Wellness and Social Protection, Assemblyman Dr. Faith B. Yisrael is confirming the first case of the Omicron variant in Tobago. Details follow in this release…

Tobago has recorded its first confirmed case of the Omicron variant. The sample was collected on 4th January 2022 and the results were reported on 14th January 2022. The individual has no travel history nor was in contact with anyone with a travel history.

The confirmation of the Omicron variant was received via gene sequencing at the Faculty of Medical Sciences Laboratory, University of the West Indies.

Secretary of Health, Wellness and Social Protection, Assemblyman Dr. Faith B. Yisrael said:

“The sample collection and reporting dates, coupled with the individual not having a travel history, are critical pieces of information for several reasons:

1. Due to costs and other implications, all COVID-19 positive samples are not tested for variants in Trinidad and Tobago. As a result, it is possible that there are several other cases of the Omicron variant in Tobago.

2. The individual did not have a travel history, which suggests that the Omicron variant is circulating among Tobago’s population.

The Omicron variant has been reported to be four (4) times more infectious than the Delta variant. Additionally, the Delta variant was reported to be two and a half (2.5) times more infectious than the original virus that began circulating in 2019. Therefore, with the highly infectious Omicron variant circulating among us, we expect the number of cases to increase unless everyone does their part to prevent the spread of the virus.

Although some reports indicate that the Omicron variant causes a milder course of illness, due to the large number of persons in Tobago with comorbidities, an increase in the number of infected persons will lead to an increase in hospitalizations and unfortunately, deaths.

Persons are urged to take every precaution to prevent being infected by the COVID-19 virus by:

1. Washing your hands regularly with soap and water.

2. Wearing your masks properly over your nose and mouth.

3. Physically distancing.

4. Staying at home if you are ill and calling the COVID-19 Hotline at 800 HEAL (4325).

5. Getting vaccinated and getting your booster shots, which reduces the chance of being infected and if infected, reduces the risk of severe infection.

Come on Tobago, we can do this together!”