MSDFS places focus on the family as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in T&T

Given the recent rollback measures issued by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, Minister of Social Development and Family Services (MSDFS), Senator the Honourable Donna Cox takes the opportunity to emphasise the need for heightened vigilance at this time. Cognizant of the impact on families of the increased risk of contraction of the COVID – 19 virus. According to the Minister: “The Ministry will pay particular attention to developments at all of its Social Welfare Offices, to ensure that the protocols are being adhered to and adequate sanitising of the Ministry’s locations is undertaken on a sustained basis”.

The Ministry of Social Development and Family Services therefore reminds all families that we are still very much in the throes of the pandemic and it is important that each of us demonstrates responsibility and regard for one another, by taking all precautions to protect ourselves and our loved ones. In particular, families are reminded of the risk of gatherings at this time, and the need to limit such activity, in the best interest of all; and in our efforts to limit the spread within families circles.

The Ministry remains committed as a frontline, essential service at this time, as our operations at all of our offices continue to be in congruence of the COVID-19, protocols within the new normal. In this regard, the guidelines as presented by WHO, CDC and our medical practitioners, and in particular, to older persons who may be living on their own are as follows:

  • Take the following everyday preventive actions:
    • Wear a mask over your nose and mouth, once you are close to someone;
    • Keep your distance of the stipulated 6 feet;
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer;
    • Cough into a tissue or into the crook of your elbow
  • Have supplies on hand:
    • Contact your healthcare provider to ask about obtaining extra necessary medications to have on hand in case there is an outbreak of COVID-19 in your community and you need to stay home for a prolonged period of time;
    • Be sure you have over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies (tissues, etc.) to treat fever and other symptoms. Most people will be able to recover from COVID-19 at home;
    •  Have enough household items and groceries on hand so that you will be prepared to stay at home for a period of time;
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick;
    • Avoid touching your face, nose, eyes, etc. 
    • Clean and disinfect your home to remove germs: practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces (for example: tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks & cell phones) 

The Ministry also understands that family situations may be ever-changing, given the COVID-19 restrictions, inclusive of the need for online schooling with requisite supervision, as well as various challenges which we all may be experiencing at this time. To this end, persons are encouraged to check the Ministry’s website to get information on available services and also to access any psychosocial support, counselling or referrals and advice, to address current or emerging issues. For further information, persons may call the Ministry’s hotline at 800 – 1MSD or the Older Person’s Hotline: 800 – OPIC – 1405.


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