(CMR) The Cayman Islands government has confirmed its first COVID-19 community transmission cases in some 18 months today during an emergency press briefing. Public Health has confirmed that two members of the same family have tested positive for the coronavirus.
A full slate of PACT ministers along with the governor, Dr. Lee and Police Commissioner Baines were all in attendance to address the Cayman community.
He confirmed that a thorough investigation is underway to attempt to pinpoint how the persons would have been infected. He also shared that all other contacts thus far have tested negative, including school children at a local school.
Dr. Lee confirmed that the persons have no history of travel, and extensive contact tracing had been immediately carried out in an attempt to identify and isolate any known contacts.
The contact with first responders dealing with these cases has led to Public Health placing those persons in 14 days quarantine. He confirmed that despite the fact that they were wearing PPE, given the transmissibility of this disease and close contact with the infected persons, an abundance of caution has been taken to isolate them.
Premier Honourable Wayne Panton confirmed that this was somewhat surprising but provided the country with the opportunity to have a test run of what will be done as we reopen as cases emerge.
He urged the community to deploy community-wide vigilance and remember the steps that we took in order to get Caymanians to the enviable position of not having a positive case in some 18 months.
Premier Panton noted that over the next 24-48 hours, people should stay away from large gathers and social functions until the government has more information on these cases. Panton noted:
“This was a test run with real world implications and we let science guide us … at the end of the day its our people and residents that are most important.”
Health Minister, Hon. Sabrina Turner encouraged people to go back to basics to become “a thriving community, not a surviving one.”
The Minister of Education, Julianna O'Connor-Connolly, said: “We have had a test run, and this is a call for people to take this seriously and get vaccinated.” She said:
“Let us reason together and get vaccinated because COVID is a moving agent mutating to more complex variants.”
Further explaining that her concern was for the students who are not back in schools engaging in face-to-face learning to be able to continue to give them the opportunity to learn whilst protecting the next generation.