Persons using pandemic to stay away from work- Health Minister

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Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony on Wednesday, said some persons are exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic to stay away from work. He said persons are regularly reporting that they have been exposed to the virus, manipulating the mandatory quarantine period.

“There’s another aspect of this where there are reports of persons who may be every two weeks, they have become exposed to somebody. If there’s a pattern like that, it’s obvious that that employee or that person might just want days off rather than being genuinely sick with COVID. So, some persons are exploiting the situation of claiming that they have been exposed to someone who has been positive for Covid and that then can become very problematic.”

While a person who claims to have been in contact with someone who is positive and should be tested, Minister Anthony said workplaces should adopt policies to verify such reports from employees.

Even as this needs to be implemented, the health ministry continues to monitor persons in quarantine, especially those in home isolation, Dr. Anthony said.

“With the records we have, we know those persons who are positive through the telephone system. We’re able to contact those persons and to monitor to see whether or not you’re experiencing signs and symptoms, the severity of those signs and symptoms, and then if it becomes very severe, to get them into the hospital.”

The Health Emergency Operations Centre (HEOC), is also involved in active contact tracing; however, that becomes challenging when there is a high number of infections. Dr. Anthony said the terrain of the outlying regions also poses some difficulties in doing contact tracing.

“So, if you have, say 2,000 active cases, to each of those cases, sometimes you have to do contact tracing of maybe five to 10 persons and that can become very challenging, very quickly, depending on which region you’re in,” he noted.

Meanwhile, 2,112 persons are currently infected with Covid-19, with 83 of them being new cases detected in the past 24 hours. There are also 55 persons that are being treated in hospitals, 38 of whom are at the Infectious Diseases Hospital, with 20 of them in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

The ministry is currently monitoring Region Three that has some 820 cases; Region Four, 764 cases; Region Six, 232 cases and Region Ten with 93 cases. Currently, 393, 355 adults have already taken the first dose of a covid vaccine, with 264, 851 of them returning for the second dose.

For adolescents, 28, 501 persons have received the first dose of the vaccine, while 19, 693 of this age cohort were vaccinated with the second dose.

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