(CMR) The Chief Medical Officer, Mr. John Lee, informed residents quarantined at two local hotels that they will not be released as previously scheduled starting tomorrow; but instead will be subjected to mandatory testing for the coronavirus before they can return to their homes.
This discouraging news comes at the 11th hour as some students were making preparation to leave their quarantined facility tomorrow – having met the 14-day isolation requirement previously set. The information was relayed during email shortly before 10:00 pm Thursday evening and now means that persons housed at the facility will be forced to stay longer; pending test results.
Students expressed their shock and dismay at the news because they had previously inquired via a Zoom meeting on two separate occasions if the government intended to test them. Both times they were told no and the facility staff scheduled departures and the residents packed and arranged for rides starting tomorrow.
In the email, Dr. Lee states:
“I am really sorry to be the bearer of news I suspect you will find disappointing.”
Calling upon the group, comprising of mostly students to not be discouraged he wrote:
“Each generation has a defining moment. This is yours…you are being called upon to think of your community as we confront a pandemic threat that is unprecedented in modern times, the largest in over 100 years.”
He goes on to explain that the government is working hard to contain the community spread of the disease and as such will begin testing everyone at the Comfort Suites and Margaritaville hotels. From CMR estimates this means that several hundred persons will be subjected to testing and a longer stay over the coming days.
Testing will be rolled out in phases with people being tested on their scheduled date of departure starting April 3. He also confirms something that was muddled in the first week of press briefings: persons with no symptoms can transmit the disease. Results are expected to take several days via the HSA lab.
“Something that is equally true, is that persons with no apparent symptoms can be carriers who spread the disease to others, who may not cope as well with the virus. With this in mind, I feel that we should test all of you for the novel coronavirus at the expiry of your 14 day isolation period and before you go back to your homes.”
Dr. Lee indicated that along with Governor Roper they would be discussing the matter further at a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Some students had already arranged rides to leave the facility on Friday. Hotels were made available to students and essential workers who wished to quarantine under the government program. They have been provided with food, laundry, and internet access whilst at the facility.
Additional returning residents coming on the air bridge British Airways flight next Tuesday will be subjected to mandatory isolation at the same facilities and presumably testing as well. The strict requirements were put in place after persons in the local community expressed concerns about the inbound passengers.