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By Latrishka Thomas

The first was a 47-year-old man, revealed at a virtual press conference yesterday. The second was announced hours later on Prime Minister Gaston Browne’s personal Facebook page.

Names of the two deceased had not been officially disclosed up to press time.

The first man, who had diabetes, died within hours of being admitted to Mount St John’s Medical Centre, Chief Medical Officer(CMO), Rhonda Sealey-Thomas, revealed.

He was one of five Covid-19 samples to return positive results from the latest batch sent to Trinidad for testing this week. That takes the country’s total number of confirmed cases to 19.

The man was rushed to hospital on Saturday. “He was managed for complications of diabetes mellitus, but because of his presentation, he was also suspected of having Covid-19 disease,” the CMO said.

Sealey-Thomas said the man was stabilised “but despite medical intervention, the gentleman passed away in the intensive care unit or ICU on the same day of his admission”.

Medical Director of Mount St John’s, Albert Duncan, said the man was brought into the emergency room after suffering a cough and weakness for two days. By the time he arrived at the hospital he was in a critical condition.

“This young man had quite a few more comorbidities which would make management of this Covid virus very, very difficult, and also very serious,” Duncan said.

Seventeen samples were sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) on April 6. Of the five new confirmed cases, “one is a repeat, one is the patient who passed away, one is a healthcare worker and the other two are currently hospitalised,” the CMO said.

She explained that the repeat sample was that of patient zero, a 21-year-old woman who had arrived into Antigua from the UK. Sealey-Thomas said that this is despite her doing very well, improving, having no symptoms and being “back to her normal self”.

Sealey-Thomas said that this week marked the third instance of the young woman being tested and all three tests had returned positive results.

The CMO reassured the public that officials are monitoring her closely. “It’s a very interesting case and we need to see what’s happening there,” she added.

To date, more than 50 people in Antigua and Barbuda have been tested for Covid-19. Three of the confirmed cases are healthcare workers – two doctors and a nurse – and 12 had a positive travel history.

The health officials confirmed that at least four of the 19 positive cases are associated with travel to Montserrat for St Patrick’s Day last month.

Duncan also disclosed that there were six people in the hospital with the virus, four of them dependent on ventilators. It is not yet known if the second fatality was among them. The other two were “relatively stable and not requiring ventilation”, he said.

Health officials added that five more samples are to be sent to CARPHA today.

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