COVID-19 in T&T – Tracking the Data [Part 1]

Today (April 12th) marks one full month since our first confirmed COVID-19 case in Trinidad and Tobago. Even with the near-daily press conferences and daily media releases over the last month, information on the patients (that don’t compromise patient confidentiality) have been sparse.

However, since the first case of COVID-19 in T&T, we have been scraping as much data as is available to give you a look at the situation – leaving politics and rhetoric out of it.

COVID-19 Cases in T&T

Our first case of the novel coronavirus was an imported case, confirmed on March 12th, 2020. Since then, we’ve seen a number of imported cases add to the total, with several primary contacts of those imported cases contracting the disease. This is classified as local spread or local transmission.

According to the Chief Medical Officer Dr. Roshan Parasram, the Minister of Health Terrance Deyalsingh and reports submitted to the WHO, T&T has not reported instances of community transmission to date, with only clusters of cases.

As of Saturday night, 11th April 2020, Trinidad and Tobago has recorded 112 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 8 deaths, and 12 recoveries.

Confirmed positive COVID-19 cases, deaths and recoveries in Trinidad and Tobago. Data: Ministry of Health, Trinidad and Tobago. This chart will be updated daily.

Trinidad and Tobago’s total of cases has been inflated by nationals who were stranded on the ill-fated Costa Favolosa cruise where an outbreak of COVID-19 occurred. 68 nationals were repatriated and immediately sent into quarantine on March 17th into Camp Balandra, with 40 people testing positive on March 21st. Since then, 12 more have tested positive, nine from the repatriated group, and three individuals who returned on their own accord. Our total COVID-19 cases, as of April 11th, without the Costa Favolsa group stands at 60.

Data from the Ministry of Health daily press releases showing the number of COVID-19 cases across T&T, separating the Costa Favolosa cases out of the overall total. Note that 49 COVID-19 cases originated from the Costa Favolosa cruise, 40 of which were added to T&T’s overall total on March 21st.

COVID-19 Testing in T&T

Testing has been a contentious topic in Trinidad and Tobago, with only legitimate testing being carried out by the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA). However, while Trinidad and Tobago, as well as a number of other CARICOM member states, submit swabs to CARPHA for testing, not all of these swabs have been accepted.

In Trinidad and in Tobago, both islands report the total number of samples submitted. This means we don’t have a clear idea of the actual number of persons tested due to rejected samples possibly inflating this reported figure. What is known is that as part of the discharge protocol, two negative tests have to be done on a patient within 24 hours. These samples are reported as part of the total samples submitted.

As of Saturday night, 11th April 2020, Trinidad and Tobago has submitted 1110 samples to the Caribbean Public Health Agency for testing.

Data from the Ministry of Health daily press releases and updates containing the number of samples submitted to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) for testing for COVID-19. Note that these figures show the number of samples submitted by the Regional Health Authorities across Trinidad and Tobago but not necessarily indicative of the number of samples tested by CARPHA.

The COVID-19 Demographic Breakdown

One of the most requested pieces of data has been the demographics of the COVID-19 cases in the country. On April 11th, the Ministry of Health finally publicized the age and gender distribution of the cases, as well as the ages of deaths in the country.

Demographic data from the Ministry of Health as of 10:00 AM Saturday 11th April 2020 showing the age and gender breakdown of (at the time) 109 confirmed COVID-19 cases in T&T. At the time of publishing, T&T has 46 male and 63 female COVID-19 patients.

Trinidad and Tobago’s youngest COVID-19 patient is a 5 to 9-year-old male and our eldest patients consist of two females and one male that falls within the 80-84 age bracket. The gender distribution in the country shows that, to date, COVID-19 has infected 46 males versus 63 females. This is anomalous compared to global data, which shows males are disproportionately affected.

All eight deaths across both islands were patients aged 55 and older, though no gender distribution was given for the deceased.

Demographic data from the Ministry of Health as of 10:00 AM Saturday 11th April 2020 showing the age breakdown of (at the time) 8 COVID-19 related deaths in T&T.

Where are the COVID-19 cases coming from?

Before you read further, we’d like to ask you to ask yourself what would you do differently if you saw there was a COVID-19 case that originated in your community? You should have already been practicing the best hand and personal hygiene, social distancing and staying inside and at home, whether a case originated in your neighbourhood or not.

Remember, most cases to date in Trinidad and Tobago were imported, any COVID-19 positive cases were isolated and hospitalized upon a positive test so there would be a lower risk of spread. Primary contacts of COVID-19 positive patients were also advised to quarantine, or self-isolate if ill.

Regardless, the CMO Dr. Roshan Parasram said it best, the only way to stop the spread of this disease is to “treat everyone as if they are COVID-19 positive.”

This geographical data came from the release from the Ministry of Health’s press conference on April 11th, showing both the demographic data and locations of the laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 until April 10th.

To create these maps, we georeferenced the data points from the Ministry of Health’s map to look at the data at a community-level.

Northwestern Trinidad

Laboratory confirmed COVID-19 cases across Northwestern Trinidad. Data: Ministry of Health.
Laboratory confirmed COVID-19 cases across Northwestern Trinidad. Data: Ministry of Health.

Across Northwestern Trinidad, as of April 10th, 2020, 16 COVID-19 cases originated from this area.

In Blue Range and Malick, two COVID-19 cases originated in each community respectively. Across Carenage, Blue Basin, Petit Valley, La Pastora, Never Dirty, Morvant, East Port of Spain, Eastern Quarry, Laventille, Barataria, San Juan, and Valsayn, one case was reported in each community.

North-Central Trinidad

Laboratory confirmed COVID-19 cases across North-Central Trinidad. Data: Ministry of Health.
Laboratory confirmed COVID-19 cases across North-Central Trinidad. Data: Ministry of Health.

Across North-Central Trinidad, as of April 10th, 2020, 16 COVID-19 cases originated from this area.

In the Dinsley/Trincity area, 3 COVID-19 cases originated from that community. Two cases came from Arouca, Red Hell, O’Mera, and Malabar respectively. One case came from El Dorado, Five Rivers, Tacarigua, Maloney Gardens, and La Horquetta.

Northeastern Trinidad

Laboratory confirmed COVID-19 cases across Northeastern Trinidad. Data: Ministry of Health.

Outside of Camp Balandra in Rampanalgas, there are no confirmed COVID-19 cases in the region. As of the 11th April, 2020, 49 (forty-nine) cases originated from the group of 68 nationals.

West-Central Trinidad

Laboratory confirmed COVID-19 cases across West-Central Trinidad. Data: Ministry of Health.
Laboratory confirmed COVID-19 cases across West-Central Trinidad. Data: Ministry of Health.

Across West-Central Trinidad, as of April 10th, 2020, 13 COVID-19 cases originated from this area. This includes four from the Longdenville area, two from Point Lisas and one each from Charlieville, Cunupia, Las Lomas, Palmiste, Edinburgh 500, Spring Village and Brechin Castle.

Southwest-Central Trinidad

Laboratory confirmed COVID-19 cases across Southwest-Central Trinidad. Data: Ministry of Health.
Laboratory confirmed COVID-19 cases across Southwest-Central Trinidad. Data: Ministry of Health.

Across Southwest-Central Trinidad, as of April 10th, 2020, 8 COVID-19 cases originated from this area.

This includes two cases each from the Golconda area as well as Palmyra/Mount Stewart Village respectively. One case each also originated from Palmiste, Corial Village, Green Acres and Union Village.

Southern Trinidad

Laboratory confirmed COVID-19 cases across Southern Trinidad. Data: Ministry of Health.
Laboratory confirmed COVID-19 cases across Southern Trinidad. Data: Ministry of Health.

Across Southern Trinidad, as of April 10th, 2020, 5 COVID-19 cases originated from this area.

This includes two from Penal and one each from Barrackpore, De Gannes Village and Cap-De-Ville.

Tobago

Laboratory confirmed COVID-19 cases across Tobago. Data: Ministry of Health.
Laboratory confirmed COVID-19 cases across Tobago. Data: Ministry of Health.

Across Tobago, as of April 10th, 2020, 5 COVID-19 cases originated from this area.

This includes two from Moriah and Black Rock respectively, with one originating from Easterfield.

What about East-Central and Southeastern Trinidad?

To date, there are no confirmed COVID-19 cases originating from either of these regions in Trinidad.

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