In the last seven days, Tobago has recorded 141 new COVID-19 cases, pushing the island’s total cases since March 2020 to 10,721.
While Tobago has recorded higher weekly totals over the last two years, these latest figures reflect a rising trend across the island. Over the previous four weeks, Tobago’s weekly cases have steadily risen, from 86 between July 19 and July 25, peaking last week at 160 with cases recorded between August 2nd and 8th.
While official cases have no longer been an accurate metric to track the course of the pandemic, as more accessible, affordable and not-tracked home testing became the go-to diagnostic, hospitalisations have risen to a months-long high on the island.
As of August 15, Tobago had 18 people in hospital facilities. Tobago’s Division of Health, Wellness and Social Protection indicated that six of these patients were fully vaccinated, 10 were unvaccinated and the vaccination status remained unknown for two. Last week, Tobago had 24 people warded in their medical facilities.
As of the latest COVID-19 update, the island also recorded its deadliest week for the disease from late March into early April this year. Three people succumbed to COVID-19 this past week, between Sunday (August 7) and Saturday (August 13). Of these, two were fully vaccinated, while one was unvaccinated. The division did not indicate whether the deceased had comorbidities. These latest fatalities pushed Tobago’s total COVID-19 death toll to 277.
Month-to-date, August has surpassed June and July’s monthly cases and deaths in Tobago. In the last 15 days, Tobago has recorded 415 cases, above June’s 346 cases and July’s 237 cases. The island has recorded four COVID-19-related deaths, well above the two deaths reported for June as well as July, tied with the total deaths reported on the island for May this year.
Island’s shift in reporting
In early July 2022, the division decided to issue weekly COVID-19 reports, apart from the national daily COVID-19 reports from the Ministry of Health, which includes a national overview. The division’s release marked a new phase of the division’s reporting as “the COVID-19 virus transitions worldwide, from the pandemic state to the endemic stage.”
Secretary of Health, Wellness and Social Protection Dr Faith B Yisrael, in the July release, said, “As we transition out of the pandemic and into the endemic stage, we need to transition our reporting mechanisms as well, hence the reason for shifting towards weekly reports in the first instance. This will also give us a better understanding of the trajectory of the virus using the Epidemiological Week format, which will allow us to do tracking, etc.”
The World Health Organization still lists COVID-19 as a pandemic. Pandemics are a widespread, rapid spread of disease, with exponentially rising cases over a large area. Endemic viruses, meanwhile, are constantly present and have a reasonably predictable spread. That predictability allows health care systems and doctors to prepare and adapt, reducing loss of life. Trinidad and Tobago has three endemic diseases: influenza, gastroenteritis and dengue.