14 in isolation following possible COVID exposure at hospital

'Non-breach contact' reported; new COVID regulations gazetted

File: HSA staff last year in PPE. Photo: Facebook/HSA

The Health Services Authority confirmed Wednesday that 14 people, including eight members of its staff, are currently in isolation after employees at the Cayman Islands Hospital were exposed to a highly symptomatic COVID-19 patient.

The HSA said all members of staff who are in isolation had been vaccinated.

On Tuesday, the HSA stated that staffers and their household members had been isolated for 14 days after one member of staff who had come into contact with the patient had not been wearing an isolation gown or shoe protection, but had been wearing other personal protective equipment.

The patient is an unvaccinated traveller who was hospitalised in the Critical Care Unit with COVID-19 symptoms near the end of the mandatory 14-day quarantine period, according to a statement issued by the Public Health Department on Monday.

According to an emailed statement from the HSA to the Cayman Compass on Wednesday, the staffers and their household members are allowed to isolate at their homes, if approved by the medical officer of health.

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A HSA spokesperson said that the minimum requirement for isolation for these individuals is 14 days “if there is potential exposure for those who work in a healthcare facility, due to the nature of their roles, even though the staff had all been vaccinated”.

As of Tuesday, there were 19 active cases of COVID-19 in Cayman, all among incoming travellers who are in isolation. Of those, three, including the patient in the Critical Care Unit, are symptomatic.

‘Non-breach’ contact

In a separate incident, the Public Health Department in a statement issued Tuesday evening, said a “non-breach contact” had occurred between a traveller in quarantine and a resident on Friday, 18 June.

The department would not give any more details of the incident, as it said this may identify the people involved.

However, Public Health said that it had conducted contact tracing and testing, and that all the individuals involved had been placed in isolation.

“There is no risk to the public at this time,” the department said.

As of Tuesday, there were 1,065 people in quarantine.

Regulations released

Meanwhile, the latest regulations surrounding Cayman’s COVID-19 suppression measures were gazetted on Tuesday.

Under these regulations, the quarantine period for vaccinated people flying into Cayman has been reduced to five days, from the previous 10.

Only those whose vaccination certificates were issued by the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority or which can be “securely verified” will be allowed to undergo the shorter quarantine period. Those whose certificates cannot be securely verified will still be required to go into mandatory isolation for 10 days.

The regulations define “securely verified” as: “verified by employing technological
solutions of international standards which are designed to reduce and
eliminate fraud, as approved by the Medical Officer of Health”.

Under the regulations, the requirement for vaccinated travellers to undergo PCR tests no more than 72 hours before departure has been reinstated.

Unvaccinated people are still required to take PCR tests within 72 hours of departure, and again upon arrival in Cayman. Their quarantine period remains at 14 days.

The amended regulations also state that returning residents now will have to pay their own quarantine costs at government facilities. Exemptions are being made for those travelling on government business.

Others who are not required to pay to quarantine in a government facility are: returning students; people who have travelled to represent Cayman in a sporting event as part of a national team; individuals who have travelled for medical services; or a parent, guardian or caregiver who have accompanied a child overseas for any of these purposes.

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  1. What a bunch of nonsense!!

    The regulations define “securely verified” as: “verified by employing technological
    solutions of international standards which are designed to reduce and
    eliminate fraud, as approved by the Medical Officer of Health”.

    So the vaccination cards issued in USA will obviously not be recognized. How about a document from my local health system that gave me the vaccination?

  2. Everyone has the right to refuse to be vaccinated. However they don’t have the right to risk the health of others. As has happened here. Not only these unfortunate hospital workers and their families but those people sitting next to them on the plane or lining up near them at the airport.

    It’s time to do the same as other countries and only allow people on planes if they have proof of vaccination. Unless they have a medical reason or are too young to be vaccinated.