Premier Wayne Panton, following confirmation of a George Town Primary School student testing positive for COVID-19, said in a live address to Cayman on Tuesday morning that his government has no plans at this time to implement a new lockdown.
The Year 6 student tested positive for the virus on Monday. The student is the fourth community transmission case to be reported in less than a week. The three others are connected, but the student appears to be a separate case of transmission.
“Based on the information that we have at this time, we are not considering a lockdown”
Panton said, in light of the recent local transmission cases, the government was reviewing measures regarding the next phase of the border-reopening plan, set to come into effect on 14 Oct.
The premier said Cabinet will meet this morning (14 Sept.) to “finalise additional public health measures in light of two separate incidents of local transmission, including mask mandates, increased surveillance testing, reconsideration of quarantine periods, and revisiting the rules around who can visit Cayman.
“Based on the information that we have at this time, we are not considering a lockdown.”
Under Phase 4 of the border-reopening plan, the five-day quarantine period for securely verified vaccinated travellers was due to be abolished.
Neither the student nor the three other individuals who tested positive last week have a travel history, officials have said, and Panton said the student also did not have direct contact with a traveller, adding that tracking and tracing had begun on Monday. No other members of the child’s household have tested positive.
Testing at the school
George Town Primary was closed for classes Tuesday, with parents being invited to bring their children to the school for on-site testing, which will be carried out at certain time slots throughout the day. Teachers and other staff at the school are also being tested.
Panton advised parents and guardians to wait at home to be contacted about their relevant time slot rather than going directly to the school.
“This approach has been taken to ensure accessibility to the George Town Primary School community, and because it allows Public Health staff to have a wider reach in the shortest time,” he said.
He also assured that, prior to reopening the school, facilities and buses would be thoroughly sanitised, and families will have access to the school counsellor.
The premier did not give an update on the student’s condition or state whether the child was symptomatic.
He advised parents who had children in both George Town Primary and John Gray High School to bring only the students attending the primary school for testing Tuesday.
“A public health advisory will be issued when arrangements are made for students in any other school,” he said.
In his statement, the premier added, “We’ve had no shortage of reminders over the past week that the global pandemic is far from over here in the Cayman Islands. There’s no doubt that complacency has slowly crept in among us. And as we change our behaviours, including our compliance with the regulation, it should be no surprise that we have seen the tide quickly shift.”
The Cayman Islands Health Services Authority, in a press release issued Tuesday morning, reminded people with flu symptoms to stay at home and first contact the 24-hour Flu Hotline or their general practitioner to speak to a health professional about their symptoms prior to visiting the Flu Clinic.
Anyone with concerns or displaying symptoms of flu should call 1-800-534-8600, or locally 947-3077 or 925-6327 or email [email protected].
The HSA said callers will be screened for travel history and will be advised on what to do – for example, come to the Flu Clinic, or stay at home in isolation.
Anyone visiting the Flu Clinic is advised to bring their own mask, as all visitors to HSA facilities are now required to wear a mask.
The Flu Clinic is open Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm. It is in the space previously occupied by the Outpatient Mental Health Unit, on the side of the hospital facing the Seventh-day Adventist Church, to the far left of the Accident and Emergency Unit. Signage on the hospital campus will direct patients to the clinic.