55 COVID cases in Secondary schools since return to classrooms

There have been 55 COVID-19 cases recorded within the Secondary School system since students returned to face to face learning on October 4.

The figures were revealed by the Ministry of Health’s Epidemiology Division technical director Dr Avery Hinds at a virtual press conference yesterday. Dr Hinds noted that the figures provided by the Ministry of Education did not give a breakdown by school but by seven education districts in Trinidad.

Guardian Media was able to obtain a copy of the statistics.

It showed that between October 4 and November 5, 217 suspected cases emerged from the secondary school system- the highest of 54 cases coming from the North Eastern Education District. Of these suspected cases, 55 returned a positive test result, the highest of which came from St George East Education District with 16 cases. There were 62 negative results received across the seven districts with the results for 100 people still pending.

Although there was no school-specific information, there are at least six schools that had outbreaks reported in the public domain. These are the Shiva Boys Hindu College, Princes Town East Secondary School, Iere High School, St Augustine Girls’ High School

Bishop Anstey East and Trinity College East High School.

Interestingly, the Victoria and St Patrick districts had some of the lowest numbers of suspected and positive cases. Both had 20 suspected cases each with seven and five positives respectively. These county’s, however, have some of the highest numbers of cases per 10,000 people. As of November 7, county Victoria had the highest incidence of COVID-19 in its population at 497.59 per 10,000 people. However, county St Patrick has the lowest incidence of COVID-19 in its population with 306.98 per 10,000 people as of November 7.

The South Eastern district had the fewest number of suspected cases and positives with 19 and seven respectively.

Secondary Schools with suspected or positive cases:

On October 8, a teacher at the Shiva Boys Hindu College tested positive for the virus, resulting in an unknown number of staff and students having to be quarantined.

On October 19, a second staff member at the Princes Town East Secondary School tested positive for the virus, which followed two weeks after a colleague contracted the COVID-19 virus.

On October 28, five cases were reported at Iere High School, leading to over 60 persons having to be quarantined.

On October 29, a parent of a student attending the Mason Hall Secondary School, Tobago tested positive for COVID-19, leading to the school having to temporarily close its doors.

On November 7, a teacher at the SAGHS tested positive, leading to nine students having to be quarantined.

On Novembers 8, Bishop Anstey High School East & Trinity College East (BATCE) reported two COVID positive teachers

On November 10, officials at SWAHA Hindu College denied teachers had tested positive and also refused to confirm students had been exposed—although the vice principal said several students had been quarantined out of an abundance of caution.

On November 11, Signal Hill Secondary School, Tobago suspended classes due to COVID-19 concerns.

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