Chief Medical Officer Dr. John Lee says there is no risk to the patients or staff of the Health Services Authority after a healthcare worker tested positive for COVID-19.

Lee, who announced three new positive cases on Tuesday at the daily COVID-19 briefing, said the worker was screened and then isolated “at the moment that the result was found out”.

He explained that one of the three new cases had a travel history, the second was through contact with a positive case, and the third was by community transmission.

Lee declined to say which category the healthcare worker fell into, but stated that protective steps have been in place at the HSA since Cayman’s first positive case.

However, he said, for several weeks now staff treating everybody at the HSA have been using the appropriate personal protective equipment “so the protection has been working both ways for some time”.

There were no plans to lock down the hospital.

Lee pointed out that Health City Cayman Islands was locked down when the first COVID-19 case was detected at that hospital because at that time “we weren’t aware that we had any COVID-19 on the island”.

“Now we know we’re protecting both the staff and the patients at every juncture so I don’t feel there’s a risk and need to do that [lockdown] because now it’s a different circumstance and all the protections are in place,” he said.

Lee said that the same also applied for the private hospitals.

Medical Officer of Health and HSA Director of Primary Care Dr. Samuel Williams-Rodriguez agreed with Lee, adding that precautions have been in place at the hospital for some time.

“There is no risk for anyone involved. Since a few weeks now, everyone at the HSA has been directed to use PPEs (personal protective equipment) both for patients and healthcare providers,” he said.

Tuesday’s updated figures cases took Cayman’s total number of positive cases to 73.

So far, the results of 1,335 tests have been returned. Of the individuals who have tested positive for the coronavirus, one has died (the Italian cruise ship passenger), five are receiving treatment in hospital, 33 are symptomatic and 24 are asymptomatic, with 10 fully recovered, Lee said.

Williams-Rodriguez, in response to queries from the Cayman Compass, said the HSA is considering reopening non-emergency and elective services.

However, at the moment, he said, “We will continue now with emergency services and focussing on patients suspected of COVID-19, with the screening we are doing”, adding that if the number of new cases continues to be low, “we certainly will look at opening all our services”.

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