Dr. Lee: Death in Honduras not case of COVID-19

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Cayman’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. John Lee on Friday addressed the circumstances around the death of a Cayman Islands resident in La Ceiba, Honduras.

The death of the man on 22 March, days after his arrival in Honduras, caused concern and speculation about the possibility of coronavirus. Dr. Lee dispelled those rumours on Friday.

“I have received a copy of a press release from the Honduran government saying that the subject who we previously talked about, who has now unfortunately died, was negative for COVID-19,” he said.

A press release sent to Honduran media by Health City Cayman Islands on 22 March denied reports that the man had been a patient in its hospital during the same time as the coronavirus-positive cruise ship passenger, who was admitted to the East End facility on 29 Feb.

“We would like to clarify the false claims. The Honduran citizen was admitted to Health City Cayman Islands in October 2019. He was sent in October to the hospital’s triage department, after being admitted, and was released the same month. Later he returned but only for a medical check-up in the outpatient department,” read the Health City release, originally written in Spanish.

“The Honduran citizen who passed away on 22 March was not at Health City when the COVID-19 positive patient arrived, nor was he present at any time thereafter. We reiterate, at no moment did the Honduran citizen have contact with the COVID-19 positive patient.”

An unverified death certificate, dated 21 March – one day before Health City said the man had died – began circulating in Honduras and the Cayman Island, leading to further speculation about his passing. Dr. Lee did not address the contents of that document.

At the time of the man’s death, Honduran officials indicated they still had not received the results of his COVID-19 test.

Later, Dr. Sara Alberto, director of the hospital in Atlántida where the patient was held in isolation, told La Tribuna in Honduras that the patient had been admitted with blood sugar problems, provoked by diabetes, and that he suffered acute kidney failure. Honduran Vice Minister of Health Nery Cerrato said it was a case of septic shock, La Prensa reported.

Full coverage: Coronavirus

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