More than half of the coronavirus cases in Cayman have fully recovered, according to Medical Officer of Health Dr. Samuel Williams-Rodriguez, who reported one new positive COVID-19 result today (8 May).
Cayman now has a total of 81 cases; 41 have recovered, one has died, eight are symptomatic, 29 are asymptomatic, and two are in hospital for unrelated conditions, Williams-Rodriguez said at the daily COVID-19 briefing.
He added that the single new case was discovered through screening; the person is asymptomatic, with no travel history or apparent contact with a known coronavirus case. Public Health Department staff are currently doing contact tracing to determine the origin.
Today’s results come from a batch of 297 tested at labs at the Cayman Islands Hospital and CTMH Doctors Hospital.
This brings to 3,423 the total number of people who have been tested for COVID-19 in the Cayman Islands.
The Public Works Department has set up a field hospital at the Family Life Centre, a facility which Williams-Rodriguez and Premier Alden McLaughlin said they hoped would never have to be used as Cayman continues to report encouraging test results.
The medical officer of health said that facility had been created in case the hospitals became overwhelmed.
“It is better to be prepared,” he said. “With the trend that we currently have, we may not use it, but we did not want to get to the situation where we need those facilities and they were not there.”
He said the facilities were ready to be utilised if the need arose, “which seems to be unlikely at present”.
The premier said he and his colleagues hoped and expected that the field hospital and other healthcare facilities on standby would not be needed. “And the reason we can have that hope and expectation is the strategy so far has worked, frankly, incredibly well, when we look around us and see the number of deaths, not just worldwide but in areas that are close to us.”
He said he had discussed with the governor and his government colleagues that he had gone through “a few weeks of recurrent dreams where I dreamt that I was Andrew Cuomo, governor of New York, announcing the latest death count at press conferences”.
“We haven’t had that here because in large part, we have learned the lessons of other countries and taken swift decisions to ensure the health and welfare of our people.”
Pressure to reopen economy grows
He said pressure continued to grow on government as people called for the easing of restrictions locally and the opening up of the entire economy. “Many people are anxious to get back to business as usual, as are we,” he said, adding that people are seeing other countries, like the US, the UK and Sweden, easing their lockdowns, and think it’s time Cayman did the same.
But he warned, “It would be tragic to have made the sacrifices we have made collectively as a country and a people and to throw that all away because we couldn’t wait another week or two to get our business back up and running.”
He said he hoped the ethos in Cayman of honouring and respecting the elderly people of the islands meant that he and his government would do their utmost to protect the older population here from coronavirus
Earlier this week, McLaughlin announced a slight easing of restrictions that will make deliveries possible on Mother’s Day.
Florists have been given a special exemption to deliver flowers to mothers on Sunday, which is normally a day of hard curfew. Other businesses were also offered the option of applying for exemptions to deliver gifts for this Sunday only.
He acknowledged to local mothers that this year the day dedicated to them would be quite different than previous ones, noting moms would be “physically distant from your loved ones, your children and other family members”.
“We’ve done everything we possibly can,” he added, and he encouraged family members to contact their moms over Zoom or other means.
He also had a message for children: “Order your mother a nice meal if you’re not living with her. We’ve lifted curfew on deliveries for Mother’s Day so as many of you as can, please take advantage of that.”
A ‘To Mother, With Love’ virtual concert, hosted by the Lions Club of Grand Cayman and the Cayman Islands Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, will be held on Mother’s Day. It will feature local artists and international gospel singer Glacia Robinson.
The concert will be streamed live from 6pm on the Lions Club of Grand Cayman Facebook
page and Instagram, on the Miss Teen Cayman Instagram, and on Cayman Mother’s Day Concert Facebook
page. It will also be screened on CIGTV.
Two evacuation flights departed from the Cayman Islands today, bound for Costa Rica and Honduras, Governor Martyn Roper said, and a flight to Miami is scheduled for Friday, 15 May.
The Miami flight will also bring back a number of people who have been “pre-approved”, the governor said.
A flight to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic has also been organised for Sunday, 17 May.
The governor advised people who want book seats on those flights to contact Cayman Airways online or on 949-2311.
He said, as of today, 921 people had departed on evacuation flights, and 370 have returned to Cayman.