Tobago has recorded 82 COVID-19 cases emerging among students and staff on the island since the return to physical classes on April 19. The update came during a joint press conference involving the Division of Education, Research and Technology (DERT) and the Division of Health, Wellness and Social Protection (DHWSP).
According to Education House Officer at the DERT, Dr Dane Joseph, alongside the students and teachers were six staffers at the division. He said among the cases in schools, 33 were secondary school students and 49 were primary school students. He explained the majority of these cases, 52, were from the Central Region, with 14 in the North Region, and 16 in the East. However, he said the division has noticed a plateau in these cases over the past five weeks.
"In the earlies, the number per week were relatively high at a number of 17. However, this has gradually reduced, and we are seeing actually a plateau of cases being around 10 to 12 cases per week amongst our schools," Dr Joseph reported.
Secretary of the Health Division, Dr Faith B Yisrael, indicated there were two cases of Multi-system Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) to be recorded within recent weeks on the island.
She said the condition, which follows a COVID-19 infection, is predominantly witnessed in children 5-17 years old in Tobago. It is why she urged parents to get their children vaccinated, more so now that the doses for 5-11-year-olds have arrived in the country.
"We are hoping that the parents… in the past you've ensured that your children were vaccinated against all of the other things we get vaccines for. The Yellow Fever and the Whooping Cough, and the Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR). That has been our tradition,” Dr B.Yisrael pointed out.
“We've boasted in the past about having very high vaccination rates for all of those, and we are hoping that the parents continue to protect their children by allowing them to be vaccinated, because it's the safe thing to do at this point," she added.
Tobago's cases represent 8.63 per cent of the total number of cases to emerge within the school system for the country since the return to physical classes this term. As of last week, there were 950 such cases across both islands.
On Wednesday, Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh confirmed that between May 9 and 15, there were 328 positive COVID-19 cases coming out of 153 schools. The first week of the return saw 28 cases from 16 schools. The second week saw 288 cases from 243 schools, followed by 306 cases from 144 schools in the third week. According to Minister Deyalsingh, there were 328 cases from 153 schools for the week prior to last week's update.