Latest CDC COVID-19 Level on TCI Infuriates Health Minister

Unhappy with the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) Level 3 COVID-19 Risk Assessment, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Hon. E. Jay Saunders has vowed to reach out the America-based global health police, to collect feedback so as to enable the TCI to make the necessary protocol adjustments.

Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, E. Jay Saunders


Speaking at a news conference on Wednesday, June 2, to mark the Progressive National Party’s (PNP) 100 days in office, Deputy Premier Saunders poured cold water on the latest CDC COVID-19 assessment of the Turks and Caicos Islands, dismissing it as disproportionate and arbitrary.


The CDC has crafted four COVID-19 levels, 1 to 4, with four being described as Very High. Level three is classified as High, which is probably what triggered Saunders’ dismay, owing to the fact that the Turks and Caicos Islands has been hovering at 1.1 percent contraction level.


“I was disappointed that the CDC has only reduced us to level 3. I personally believe that by putting us at level 3 doesn’t reflect how brilliant we have done,” Saunders argued. “I think it is disproportionate at best, and I think it is arbitrary at worst.”


Saunders told reporters at a live broadcast of the news conference from the Premier’s Office in Providenciales that he was interested in the method used by the CDC that allowed them to make such a determination of the Turks and Caicos Islands’ COVID management.


“I will personally reach out to CDC to find out what criteria they have used and which form they have used that landed the Turks and Caicos at Level 3, so we would know how to address it going forward. But in terms of our numbers, we are doing very well,” The Deputy Premier said.


In the meantime, Saunders crowed over what he called the positive rate of COVID-19 that the country, under his government, was achieving, saying that the direction was encouraging, while remaining cautiously optimistic.


According to him, 51 percent of the country’s adult population has been fully vaccinated, while 61 percent has received at least one dose.


“We are going in a great direction in terms of COVID. We certainly don’t want to take our eyes off it because we are down to just over 1.1 percent 28-day positivity rate, and over 50 percent, with 51 percent of adults fully vaccinated, with 60 percent of who received one jab. So we are going really, really good,” he boasted.


While not expecting to have zero rate, Saunders charged that it was imperative that the country kept it as close as possible to that level. He was mindful that the infection rate has seen a negligible rise over the past few days, which he intimated was a strong reminder that we are not out of the woods.


“Even though the number popped up a little bit to 12 right now…we never expected that the number would go straight down to zero. We always say that it would bounce around a bit… that is exactly what we expected. But we feel that we are on top of it and we will get the numbers down,” he declared.


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