Dr. Lee: Red Bay COVID-19 case requires further investigation

Premier says testing results will guide next steps

A Red Bay Primary School student who tested positive for COVID-19 produced “weakly positive” results, said Chief Medical Officer Dr. John Lee on Friday afternoon.

The child’s case will require further investigation, Lee said at the press briefing, adding that government is taking a cautious approach towards the case.

Public Health officials were dispatched to the school Friday and had completed 200 swab tests, including Year 2 classmates of the student, parents, teachers and other staff.

Testing is also being conducted at the Needs Assessment Unit where one of the child’s family members works. Thirty workers were expected to be tested there.

So far, however, Lee said the child’s parents and sibling had all tested negative for COVID-19.

The child’s sibling, like the child, is showing symptoms of a respiratory illness, he added.

There were six positive COVID-19 cases out of the 255 test results announced Friday, which included the Red Bay student. The other cases were detected in recently arrived travellers, who are in isolation.

With Friday’s results, there are eight people with active cases, six asymptomatic and two symptomatic, of which one person is in stable condition at Cayman Islands Hospital.

So far, 220 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the Cayman Islands and 211 have recovered.

In the child’s case, Medical Officer of Health Dr. Samuel Williams-Rodriguez said the youngster had initially been taken to see a doctor due to mild flu-like symptoms. A COVID-19 test was recommended at that time, which came back positive.

Anyone with flu-like symptoms should contact their healthcare provider to determine if there is a need for COVID testing, Williams-Rodriguez said.

Lee said the child had started displaying flu-like symptoms on Friday and had either not attended school or had been taken out of school that day. The child had not attended school this week, and was tested at hospital on Thursday, 8 Oct.

He said that while, in the case of the Red Bay Primary student, a false positive was possible, he did not believe that was the case.

“What makes me think this is not an error is we are looking at two different gene points and they both came back positive,” Lee said.

He said one confirmatory test had returned negative results, so further investigation was warranted.

Later on Friday, the Health Services Authority issued a press release saying it would offer drive-through COVID-19 testing at the Cayman Islands Hospital from 7:30-11am on Saturday, 10 Oct. No pre-registration is required. Anyone attending is reminded to wear a face mask and to bring a photo ID, including for children.

The drive-through testing tents will be located on the main hospital campus near by the MRI/Dialysis parking lot at the main entrance. Results will be emailed within 24 hours, the HSA said.

Premier Alden McLaughlin said government would be guided by science in determining next steps for the school.

“Having done 200-250 tests and [if] there are no positives, I think all of us will take considerable reassurance from that,” McLaughlin said, referring to the pending testing from Red Bay Primary and the NAU.

A press conference may be held Saturday to announce those test results.

The premier added that a deep cleaning planned at the NAU office next week is not related to the case at Red Bay. He discouraged speculation and rumours.

“The landlord had previously scheduled a deep cleaning of the premises to start next week,” he said.

Regarding TravelCayman, previously known as TravelTime, the premier said October’s inbound flights have reached the 800-person limit and no new applications for this month will be accepted.

He advised those planning to travel in November or later to hold off on their TravelCayman applications to allow time to prioritise October’s travellers.

The premier rejected criticism of the soft opening of the islands’ borders, saying that Cayman is up to the task to react quickly to any new cases.

“We do have a steady flow of people coming to Cayman and leaving Cayman but we don’t have general tourism,” he said.

“I’m not sure we could be more careful than we currently are.”

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