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Increase In Children Contracting COVID

The Ministry of Health is reporting an increase in children being infected with COVID-19.

Nadia Astwood, Chief Medical Officer for TCI

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Nadia Astwood told a news conference on the weekend that the Ministry of Health continued to see a higher proportion of cases among children when compared to the time before the current surge.

According to her, since schools reopened on Sept 6, the ministry then detected a total of 213 cases of COVID-19 in the TCI, of which 47 or 22 percent were among school/nursery/kindergarten age children between the ages of 0 – 17 years.

According to Astwood, of the 47 school-aged children, 40 said they attended a local school or nursery. She said also that there had been cases of people being infected because of workplace clusters.

“We continue to investigate a few workplace clusters including one workplace with 42 cases,” she said.

She noted at the time of the news conference that 2,910 COVID-19 cases were recorded in the TCI since the onset of the epidemic. That number has ticked up slightly since then.

She noted that of the number 2,824 people have recovered and 23 succumbed to the disease. She said eight of those who passed, died abroad.

She said then that since July 7th 2021, 485 new cases were detected. Of that number 235 or 49% were male. She said there were 44 cases of those between the ages of 0 – 9; 63 cases of those between 10 to 19; 83 cases of those between 20 to 29; 99 cases of those between 30 and 39; 97 cases between ages 40 to 49; 69 cases of those between 50 – 59; of the 60 to 69 age group the number was 17; 11 for the 70 to 79 demographic; and two of those 80-plus.

She said at the time that 359 of the cases or 74% were residents, noting that initially more tourists or visitors were testing positive. But recently most new cases were residents.

“We can attribute this change to the roll out of the vaccinated visitors only policy which came into effect on 1st September 2021,” Astwood argued.

In the meantime, the Chief Medical Officer told the news conference that at the time 303 or 62% of the cases since 7th July 2021 were symptomatic.

“This time around, we have noted that we have been seeing more symptomatic persons,” she said, noting that of the 110 or 23% of the cases were listed as contacts of other positive cases. She said 168 or 35% were linked to international travel. And 207 or 43% unlinked.

She said the number of unlinked cases speaks to the ongoing community spread of COVID-19.

She said the country continued to see breakthrough cases, which are defined as cases occurring in persons who have been fully vaccinated.

As of last Friday, October 15, 106 breakthrough cases were documented since the beginning of the vaccination programme.

“Of note, this number includes data collected on visitors who would have been vaccinated. Breakthrough infections are expected. Based on available evidence, vaccination may make the illness less severe for those who are vaccinated and still get sick.

“The risk of infection, hospitalization and death are all much lower in vaccinated people compared to unvaccinated and so the message from the Ministry of Health remains the same…we encourage all eligible persons to become vaccinated,” she said.

Astwood pointed out that the record showed that just two persons listed as breakthrough cases were hospitalized.

Meanwhile, Dr. Astwood noted that as of October 11, records showed that 28, 529 persons or 82% of the population received a first dose of the COVID- 19 vaccine, with 26, 233 fully vaccinated, which she said represents 75.1% of the eligible population.

“Importantly, since the launch of TCIs COVID-19 vaccine booster strategy, which was launched on 4th October 2021, a total of 816 persons have received their booster doses,” she noted.

According to her, the TCIs strategy is in line with the UK’s guidance, which focuses on persons who received the last dose of the vaccine more than six months ago, and who fall within the following target groups:

  • Chronic non-communicable diseases e.g. Persons with Hypertension;

  • Heart disease, diabetes, cancer etc;

  • Adults over the age of 50 years;

  • Health care and frontline workers; and

  • Caregivers of the vulnerable.

“Persons who are eligible for booster doses should reach out to their health care providers about receiving the additional dose,” she instructed.

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