Residents on Cayman Brac and Little Cayman have been meeting with health and government officials to discuss coronavirus preparedness.
Meetings at the Brac Aston Rutty Centre and the Little Cayman Beach Resort were led by a panel that included Health Service Authority’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Samuel Williams-Rodriguez, Hazard Management Cayman Islands Director Danielle Coleman, HSA CEO Lizzette Yearwood, Sister Islands Health Services Director Dr. Srirangan Velusamy, and Sister Islands District Commissioner Ernie Scott.
Williams-Rodriquez confirmed there were currently no cases of coronavirus in Cayman.
At the Brac meeting last week, addressing the wearing of masks, he said, “The mask needs to be worn by the people who have the symptoms,” but pointed out that wearing masks generally did not offer protection from COVID-19 and gave people a false sense of security.
Asked if Cayman’s typically warm weather would act as any kind of barrier to the virus, Velusamy said the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had noted that the virus dies at 86 degrees. He added that indications showed that the virus can survive on rubber and metal for two to three hours, but can live for up to five days on cardboard.
Some meeting attendees asked how long the virus lasted once contracted. The health officials responded that those with mild symptoms would display those symptoms for two to three weeks, while more-serious cases may last five to six weeks.
Asked, in the event of cases being identified in Cayman, if the government would publish which districts were affected, Hazard Management’s Coleman said neither the names of the infected individuals nor the districts they reside in would be published.
Another question concerning residents of the Sister Islands was the cost of treating coronavirus if individuals who contracted the illness did not have sufficient health insurance. The HSA’s Yearwood responded that government has a plan in place to assist those who do not have enough insurance.
Yearwood encouraged people with respiratory symptoms to stay at home and call the flu hotline, saying a community nurse would visit.
She told the Brac audience that a dedicated flu clinic was being set up at the Aston Rutty Centre, but in serious cases, patients would be taken to Grand Cayman.
On Little Cayman, she also encouraged people to stay at home if they exhibit mild symptoms and to call the hotline for information. More-severe cases would be admitted to a hospital, she said.
Coleman said Hazard Management was looking at potential shelters on Little Cayman to quarantine people, if the need arises. She encouraged the public not to share false information and to get their information from reliable sources.
Coleman told the audience that if coronavirus cases are confirmed, mass gatherings should be avoided, and sick children should not be sent to school.