Virus outbreak linked to the first North Side case

Check-in for COVID-19 vaccines at the Lions Center

(CNS): The genomic sequencing of selected samples from the Community’s COVID-19 test results performed since the re-emergence of SARS-CoV-2 last month has been confirmed as the Delta variant, and they all appear to be closely related to the first community case reported in early September, according to public health. A woman in her 70s who remains in the hospital and her son, both from the North Side, were the first two people to test positive for COVID in the current outbreak.

A few days later, the next case surfaced at George Town Primary School. While there is no way to know for sure how the virus returned to Cayman after more than a year, in just over seven weeks we have gone from zero local transmission to 646 active cases as of Thursday morning.

On the day the virus reappeared on September 8, a total of 719 cases of COVID-19 had been recorded in Cayman since March 2020, mostly from incoming travelers. Since then, however, we have seen a further 935 cases in less than eight weeks. To date, there have been 1,650 cases in the Cayman Islands, and this week alone, there have been 447 cases reported in the community and only eight among travelers.

The Department of Public Health reported on Friday the results of 1,845 PCR tests performed until 6 p.m. 8 Thursday. Of those, there were 153 community transmissions and one case with a traveler. There were no figures for the number of people in quarantine, but it is believed to be well over 2,000.

Officials were also unable to say how many people have symptoms and how many have been vaccinated. The government has not yet provided any data to show the number of breakthrough infections since the coronavirus re-emerged.

However, there are still only four people in the hospital, including the first patient from September and another patient who is positive for COVID but was admitted for other reasons. Only two elderly people are currently hospitalized exclusively for COVID symptoms, and they were previously said to need extra oxygen.

The rapid spread of the virus, despite the high vaccination rate, the introduction of various safety protocols, rules on social distance, mask mandates and a flood of disinfectant, has taken a toll on public health.

The much-anticipated policy of controlling lateral flow testing was released by the government on Friday night (the story will be published soon). Officials have said this allows for a different approach and reduces the impact of isolating close contacts. In many cases, close contacts can be allowed to continue to function in the community, provided daily lateral flow tests are performed.

Meanwhile, 56,488 people, or 79% of the estimated population of 71,106, had received at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine as of Friday, and 76% had completed the two-dose course. A total of 3,552 people have received a third, or booster, dose.

See LFT policy and guide to Halloween activities in CNS library.

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