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Chief Medical Officer, Dr Roshan Parasram.
RISHARD KHAN
[email protected]

Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram is cautioning that the country appears to be on the verge of a significant increase in COVID-19 cases.

The warning comes after an upsurge in cases were recorded in county Caroni over the past two weeks. This, he said, has led to an 89 per cent increase in COVID-19 cases and is cause for concern.

“What we are seeing is a rolling average of 10.28 cases over the last seven days, 70 cases over the last epidemiological week compared to 37 the week before, representing an 89 per cent increase over that period.  Thirty-four cases accrued over the weekend alone and 142 cases for the first three weeks of March versus 149 for all of February,” Dr Parasram said while reviewing the epidemiological data during a virtual press conference on Monday.

Asked by Guardian Media if this was the beginning of a third phase (or wave) of infections in the country, Dr Parasram said it is not clear cut as yet to make the determination and the Ministry is considering it as part of the second phase.

“Because we had contained community spread after we had gone into phase two—if you take your minds back before July when we had an 80-odd-day period when we had no cases—there was a clear distinction between phase one and phase two. You could see there was an end to phase one and there was a restart of cases into phase two,” Dr Parasram said.

“We haven’t seen a clear distinction as yet in phase two so we can continue to think or call it phase two in our context,” he added.

Despite the semantics, he said it is a worrying situation.

“Regardless (sic) of what you want to call it, it is a significant increase again looking upwards of 80-something per cent in terms of cases week-on-week, and it really needs to be viewed by the public and the Ministry of Health as something of concern at this point in time,” he said.

Reflecting on the rapid doubling of a small number of cases at the start of the second phase, Dr Parasram urged citizens to do their part and remain vigilant against the virus.

Speaking during Saturday’s virtual press conference, County Medical Officer of Health (CMOH) Dr Jeanine St Bernard indicated up to Friday, 60 cases were recorded in her county and had left medical authorities with more than 900 primary, secondary and tertiary contacts with whom to follow up.  

A few weeks ago, she indicated that contact tracing exercises revealed the most common culprits of transmission were non-adherence to COVID-19 guidelines and gathering at functions, parties and at the workplace.

To treat the upsurge in the county, Dr Parasram said teams from the CMOH office would be on the ground in their region trying to raise awareness and educate people.

This, he said, would begin soon and would also be done in county Victoria.