Sister Islands residents meet officials on coronavirus

Residents on Cayman Brac and Little Cayman have been meeting with health and government officials to discuss coronavirus preparedness.

Officials host a meeting at the Aston Rutty Centre in Cayman Brac last week.
Officials host a meeting at the Aston Rutty Centre in Cayman Brac last week.

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.

For more information, visit www.hsa.ky/coronavirus or email [email protected]. The flu hotline number is 1-800-534-8600.

If you value our service, if you have turned to us in the past few days or weeks for verified, factual updates, if you have watched our live streaming of press conferences or sent an article to a friend... please consider a donation. Quality local journalism was at risk before the coronavirus crisis. It is now deeply threatened. Even a small amount can go a long way to sustaining our mission of informing the public. We need our readers’ financial support now more than ever.

Donate

1 COMMENT

  1. It’s encouraging to see our Government preparing for this. I’ve compiled the following from watching the leaders in pandemic infections like a hawk, especially Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. In his opinion we should be learning the lessons of mistakes made by over half of the world ahead of us, including the USA and postpone any non-essential public gatherings immediately… don’t wait for the first proven case. We now know it is coming and we know that it will be spreading silently for several weeks before the first case is confirmed. Why not take advantage of this foreknowledge to slow the spread by avoiding mass public contact early? The big issue is overloading our health care system all at once if or when we infect a few crowds. Please cancel your planned public event if you are in charge of one… please! Health workers, can I get an amen? DO NOT GO OUT IN PUBLIC if you have ANY symptoms of flu. In most cases it will be like coming down with a very mild flu, so don’t take that to anybody else, please! Wear a mask if you absolutely MUST go out with even the slightest cough or sneezes. It would be criminal to go to work (or to keep an employee at work) in a kitchen with any such symptoms. If you think you need medical attention, call the hotline… DO NOT walk in to the emergency admissions room unannounced. Wash your hands like never before. Do it for your diabetic loved ones’, parents’ and grand parents’ sakes. The confirmed cases in the States is only the tip of the iceberg due to lack of testing. We will soon see those numbers skyrocket exponentially as the tests finally get done. It is not fear mongering to recognize that Dr. Fauci says this one is killing 10 times the number of infected as the flu does, yet is at least as contagious. The most serious cases tend to be the elderly, diabetic, cardiac, cancer, liver or kidney impaired. Pay attention to the epidemic experts going forward (among whom, Dr. Fauci is widely considered to be the world’s top authority). Knowledge of the latest information is our ally, not an enemy. Be proactive, don’t wait to take precautions seriously. Stop gathering en-mass now. Just my two bits, for whatever that’s worth.