(CMR) The 68-year-old Italian patient who made history becoming Cayman's first recorded case of COVID-19 died early this morning at around 4:40 am Health City has reported. He was being treated in isolation at the tertiary care facility’s Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU).
He was originally brought into the country on February 29 as a cardiac patient in critical care after being transported from a cruise ship. They shared that his condition was extremely critical and on the way to the Cayman Islands, the patient had two cardiac arrests and was resuscitated. He had a prior medical history of cardiac issues. On arrival in George Town, he was rushed by ambulance to Health City.
He underwent cardiac treatment and began his recovery with no COVID-19 symptoms. After six days of his primary treatment, he developed a dry cough. Although he had no other COVID-19 symptoms – such as other flu-like complaints or a fever, based on World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines, a sample was taken and sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) for testing.
The sample was sent for testing on Monday, 9 March and came back as positive on Thursday, 12 March 2020.
“We extend our sincere condolences to this patient’s family. Despite best efforts, he passed away this morning. His passing seems to fit the profile of COVID-19 in that elderly patients with underlying health issues are most likely to succumb to the virus,”
Dr. Binoy Chattuparambil, Clinical Director of Health City Cayman Islands said.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “While we are still learning about how COVID-2019 affects people, older persons and persons with pre-existing medical conditions (such as high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, cancer or diabetes) appear to develop serious illness more often than others.”
Dr. Chattuparambil advised members of the public to remain calm in the wake of the patient’s death.
“The patient’s death does not increase the risk to the general public in any way. He was an older patient with pre-existing health issues who would be more greatly impacted by the disease than the vast majority of people. We continue to urge everyone to follow standard precautionary measures against contracting the virus, including regular hand-washing and practicing good respiratory hygiene,” he said.
According to the WHO website, illness due to COVID-19 infection is generally mild, especially for children and young adults. However, it can cause serious illness: about 1 in every 5 people who catch it need hospital care.
Dr. Chattuparambil reiterated that the wife of the patient remains in quarantine, and has been tested. Her test results should be received in the next 2 to 3 days. She was informed of her husband’s death by phone in order to preserve quarantine.
He continued, “We would like to assure the public that all necessary precautions to contain the virus have been put in place within our facility.”
The hospital has also quarantined staff members and their families who would be at direct risk. These individuals have also been tested for the COVID-19 virus, with results to be received shortly. Additionally, the hospital remains closed to new patients for the next two weeks as a virus containment measure.
Dr. Chattuparambil also noted that Health City is working closely with Cayman Islands Government health officials on daily updates regarding the local COVID-19 situation and will issue further updates as soon as any new information is available.
He advised the public to continue to take all necessary precautions against contracting the coronavirus. The risk can be reduced by implementing personal protective measures, such as frequent hand washing, covering nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, avoiding close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory illnesses and avoiding large social gatherings.
Individuals who develop any flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough, runny nose etc., are advised to contact the Cayman Islands Public Health Department at [email protected] or via the flu hotline at 1-800-534-8600.