Near 300 Covid-19 Cases in Schools

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By Sue-Ann Wayow

FOR the last week in April, almost 300 persons in the school system tested positive for Covid-19.

This was revealed by Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh during the Ministry of Health virtual Covid-19 update on Wednesday.

Deyalsingh said that from April 25 to April 29, 243 schools reported 288 positive cases.

“That’s between both teachers and students,” he said.

The information was supplied by the Ministry of Education and, he said, he did not have further data as to how many primary and secondary schools were affected when questioned by the media.

Deyalsingh added that as soon as more information was provided to him, it will be provided to the public.

Since the physical re-opening of schools on April 19, several pupils and staff members reported feeling ill. Some groups also asked for a reversion to online classes because of the cases.

At last week’s press conference, Deyalsingh said the Ministry of Health was willing to support the Education Ministry in its reduction of the spread of the virus.

He also asked then for parents and guardians to keep children at home if they were ill or exhibiting flu–like symptoms – a message from Education Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly.

No date yet for arrival of children’s Pfizer vaccine

And in giving an update on the acquisition of the 40,000 Pfizer vaccines for children between the ages five to 11 from Spain, he maintained that a flight date has not yet been set but that Trinidad and Tobago should be receiving them soon.

“We anticipate something very soon. I don’t have firm dates as yet but the logistics to bring it in getting flight details and so on are being worked on,” Deyalsingh said.

When asked if he was concerned about the cases in the school population, he replied that he was concerned about cases in every environment and continued to advocate for the administering of the Covid-19 vaccine.

Deyalsingh said the majority of Covid-19 hospital cases continue to be of those not fully vaccinated and presently of the hospital cases, 82% of patients were not fully vaccinated.

Persons seeking help for suicide prevention…

Deyalsingh also gave figures for persons accessing services at – the Ministry of Health’s website for persons seeking help for mental issues.

He said to date 34,055 persons have used the website with 34,464 new users.

The total number of page views was 64,045.

The minister said of the viewers, 57% were female and 43% male.

Deyalsingh said, “The top four visited pages… and we need to tell the population this so the population especially those individuals or families who recognise they need help…They are one, suicide prevention- the top page visited. Two, gender based violence, three, matters pertaining to addiction and four general helpline.”

Since the website was relaunched in San Fernando about a month ago, there have been approximately 15,000 new users, he said.

He advised family members and also co-workers to encourage persons to reach out for help.

“If you suspect somebody may be a little bit mentally disoriented, challenged, speaking in ways that they do not normally speak about, help is there. Reach out to us via the helpline, the website, help is there,” Deyalsingh said.

The minister said while the major negative effects of the pandemic were waning, persons were still dealing with the effects of Long Covid and mental challenges.


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