Governor Martyn Roper has expressed “serious concerns” that members of the community are actively trying to find out who are Cayman’s positive COVID-19 patients and where they live.
“This is completely unacceptable and patient confidentiality is absolutely essential,” the governor said Wednesday at the daily COVID-19 briefing, as he highlighted the issue in his address.
Cayman’s positive coronavirus cases jumped by eight on Wednesday, taking the overall total to 22.
Chief Medical Officer Dr. John Lee confirmed that the cases on the island span “east to west’”, and the age range of the latest cases is from early 20s to 80s. He said most of these people were still doing well.
The announcement of the new cases has increased the pressing need for residents to stay indoors to avoid the continued spread of the virus within the local community.
Premier Alden McLaughlin said officials were not surprised by the numbers as they have been continually saying there is community transmission and have repeatedly pleaded with people to stay at home.
“We are still hopeful that we can contain this within households, within particular areas of the community, isolate those persons who are there to break the continued transmission of the virus. But we are clearly now in a very dangerous position,” he said Wednesday.
With the cases on the rise, so too is anxiety and, in some cases, fear.
However, the governor urged the community to be considerate, as many people are dealing with a lot of strain at this time, especially those who are battling COVID-19.
“We have to, all of us, consider how we would feel if we were one of those people with COVID-19. So, spare a thought please for what these people are going through. It’s an extremely worrying time for them and it’s a very unpleasant virus,” he said.
Roper said people seeking out the patients or naming them is not the sort of situation Cayman should be dealing with at this time.
“I appeal to everyone to show true Caymankind spirit in how we as a community handle this,” he said.
The governor also addressed the continuing issue of ‘fake news’ being circulated in the community.
“We have set up a fake news rapid response unit and we’re monitoring this extremely closely,” he said.
Roper said he was pleased to see that government’s messaging to everybody to stop sending around fake news was “generally being adhered to”.
He added, “We will take serious action against fake news if we come across it.”
Meanwhile, the premier scotched rumours that government was once again going to implement a 24-hour lockdown in Cayman as more positive cases had been recorded.
“I said before, the length of time that we would need to impose a full lockdown is such that it is impractical. Persons will need to get out to get food, to get medicine, and so forth. But what we are very carefully considering at this stage is an extension of the alphabetical division of the community which we’ve applied to visits to the supermarkets and to the banks right across the board,” he said.