Isolators warned they must get official PCR exit test

Cayman News Service
Health Minister Sabrina Turner at the press briefing

(CNS): Health Minister Sabrina Turner said at Thursday’s press briefing that people who have tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus who leave isolation before getting an official PCR exit test, regardless of how long they have been in quarantine, will be prosecuted. Those who have left isolation without getting the formal test are being selfish, Turner said.

The minister said those in quarantine are not free to leave home until they have received an official negative result, and that people must follow the procedures; they cannot self-release, as that is a violation of the rules.

There have been indications that some people, frustrated by the system, had taken a lateral flow test and then gone about their business and had failed to turn up for the official exit test.

Turner said that government has a list of all those in quarantine as a result of being positive and would come after people who flout the regulations and put the community at risk. She said there could still be deadly consequences because of the rapid spread of the virus.

“We are aware that persons took themselves out of isolation… without reporting to the exit PCR testing site,” she said. “Let me warn everyone who has done this that you are in violation of the Public Health Law and you may still be positive, carrying a high viral load, and you are putting the public and yourself at great risk and you are just outright selfish.”

The minister continued, “I am warning you, if you don’t show up by tomorrow, you will be reported to the police for prosecution.”

Turner claimed that government was being flexible in decisions but public safety was at the heart of the procedures.

“Public Health is behind, yes I know, and many of you are critical of them,” she said, before referring to the department as “my Public Health”, who she said were working very hard, despite the criticisms.

As she concluded her comments, Turner said she was concerned that people were developing an attitude towards the pandemic of not caring and were putting the entire community at risk.

Addressing employers who not paying staff members who are sick, even warning them not to report their status to Public Health and threatening to fire them if they do so, the minister warned them that reporting a positive test is mandatory and not an option. “Being COVID-positive makes you a public health risk,” she said. “We must remain committed to following the regulations.”

Turner also revealed that on Cayman Brac, enforcement of social distancing and other protocols would be stepped up and there would be more access to vaccines, given the increase in transmission on that island, where a considerable number of elderly and vulnerable people live.

After the press conference and numerous requests over the last week, Public Health officials released more up-to-date figures on the huge number of positive COVID-19 cases reported this week. There were 850 new positive cases on Monday and Tuesday, including 14 cases on the Sister Islands.

With an estimated 4,000 people in isolation and a great many people needing a PCR test to confirm a positive LFT or for exit testing, Public Health is stretched to its limits.

Government has now expanded the testing programme and has moved the daily walk-in clinic from the South Sound Community Centre to a drive-through service at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex parking lot, starting Friday, 21 January. The new drive-through clinic will be for exit testing and confirmation PCR following positive lateral flow tests.

“We are aware of the heavy traffic of persons requiring PCR tests at the South Sound Community Centre and have been working on alleviating this issue by identifying a more suitable location,” said Dr Medical Officer of Health Samuel Williams-Rodriguez.

“After the successful launch of the new drive-through clinic at Truman Bodden Sports Complex parking lot earlier this week, we have determined that this site meets the needs of this daily testing clinic and allows for better crowd control, a more streamlined process for patients as they will be tested from the comfort of their vehicle.”

Public Health directed PCR testing clinics are as follows:

Isolation/Quarantine Exit PCR Testing Centres – Open Daily

  • Truman Bodden Sports Complex (parking lot drive-thru) – 7am – 10am
  • Ed Bush Sports Complex – 10am – 12pm
  • Bodden Town Civic Centre – 10am – 12pm

Positive LFT Confirmation PCR Testing Centres – Open Daily

  • Truman Bodden Sports Complex (parking lot drive-thru) – 7am – 10am
  • Ed Bush Sports Complex – 1 – 2pm
  • Bodden Town Civic Centre – 1 – 2pm

People who test positive with a LFT must isolate immediately, report the result here and attend the next available designated HSA clinic for your PCR test. This confirmation PCR test is a Public Health requirement. 

Results will state “Not valid for travel”. These confirmation tests are not conducted at the Cayman Islands Hospital, COVID clinic, or any private institution. Individuals who require PCR or certified LFT for outbound travel or other optional screening should attend the clinic at 131 Centre MacLendon Drive.

Faith Hospital in Cayman Brac will provide exit testing for certified LFTs at the Aston Rutty Centre Medical Wing on Friday, 21 January, from 9am – 3pm for those eligible to exit quarantine based on the new changes to government regulations.

Certified LFTs are CI$25 and people being tested can pay by cash, credit or debit card. Test results will be availbale in approximately 1 hour.

People in Little Cayman can contact the Little Cayman Clinic at 948-0072 to schedule an appointment.

People attending the drive-through must bring their photo ID along with the QR code that will be provided in the email as proof of payment. 

Anyone paying cash can visit the clinic at 131 MacLendon Drive location between 7:30am and 12pm, as the drive-through location is for pre-paid customers only.

The minimum age for the certified LFT exit testing is five years; children under five are not required to be tested.

See the new regulations that came into effect last night here.

Watch the press conference on CIGTV below: