(CNS): The period of isolation or quarantine for people who test positive for SARS-CoV-2 and their close contacts has been reduced by three days, public health officials said. Anyone currently in isolation who has now passed their new last day, which is day 7 for those vaccinated and day 10 for those who are not, are invited to a drive-thru testing clinic today and tomorrow at the Truman Bodden Sports Center.
Officials said the decision to reduce the quarantine time was to help manage the large number of people locked down following a positive test.
“I welcome the introduction of these reduced isolation periods announced by Public Health,” said Minister of Health Sabrina Turner. “We understand the difficulties that many families have faced due to COVID-19 restrictions. Currently, we know there are a large number of people in isolation and quarantine and this new policy will allow many of them to rejoin the community earlier and safely.
The government did not say how many people had tested positive on Monday or Tuesday, but the CNS understands that recent days have seen some of the highest daily case numbers since the pandemic began for the Cayman Islands. Officials are expected to release a weekly report tonight, although it’s unclear how up-to-date the new reporting process will be.
The Omicron variant is believed to be less virulent, despite being the most contagious strain of COVID-19 to date, but the high numbers have yet to fuel an unmanageable increase in hospital admissions. At the last count, which reflected the situation over the weekend, there were 15 patients in the hospital.
However, no update has been released since then, so this figure could have changed significantly in three days and it is possible that the number of hospitalized patients was higher.
The incubation period for the Omicron variant is thought to be around three to five days. This means it can be passed on before people realize they have it, which is why this strain spreads so easily and makes it harder to control. However, people infected with other variants can spread it about two days before their first symptoms appear and for about 10 days afterwards.
“The continued evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic requires us to constantly assess how we are managing the spread of the virus, while ensuring the continuity of our economy,” said Dr Autilia Newton, acting chief medical officer . “This change to isolation and quarantine requirements is a step toward improving the management of COVID-19 to better meet the needs of the Cayman community.”
The new isolation requirements and output testing provisions are as follows:
- Starting on Day 0 of a positive test, vaccinated individuals will self-isolate for 6 days and become eligible for an exit PCR test on Day 7.
- Unvaccinated individuals will self-isolate for 9 days and become eligible for an exit PCR test on Day 10.
- COVID-19 positive individuals and their unvaccinated household members (18+) currently in isolation/quarantine who are eligible for early release based on the new changes can attend a special drive-thru testing clinic on the Truman Bodden Sports Complex car park (across from the John Gray High School walking path entrance from Olympus Way) Wednesday January 19th and Thursday January 20th. Face masks and government photo ID showing date of birth are required.
Daily PCR testing clinics for COVID-positive individuals will continue from 10 a.m. to noon on Friday, January 21, at the following locations:
- Ed Bush Sports Complex
- Bodden Town Civic Center
- South Sound Community Center
An Isolation Helpline is available to help by delivering groceries or other essential supplies to people who suddenly need to self-isolate and have no other resources and support.
For isolation support, call 946-3530 Where 1-800-534-3530 or email [email protected]
Opening hours 9am to 4pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 1pm Saturday.
For mental health support, the Mental Health Helpline can be contacted at
1-800-534-6463(SPIRIT) Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
If you have flu symptoms, contact the 24-hour flu helpline at 1-800-534-8600 Where 947-3077
or email [email protected]
If you have difficulty breathing, call 911