TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS
Ministry of Health and Elections Office (COVID-19) Standard Operation Procedures Guidelines for Nomination Day 2021
These Guidelines are issued by the Ministry of Health and the Supervisor of Elections in accordance with regulation 18 of the Public and Environmental Health (COVID-19)(Control Measures) Regulations 2021.
The existence of COVID -19 in the Turks and Caicos Islands has given rise to the Turks and Caicos Islands Government, guided by the Ministry of Health, taking all the necessary precautions to keep residents of, and visitors to, the jurisdiction safe. While there are measures currently in place that stipulate that residents and visitors are not to congregate in large numbers, particularly at social and other gatherings, the Turks and Caicos Islands up-coming General Election will compel a rethink of how this important event can be undertaken without compromising the health of electors, election office staff and poll workers. The primary protocols, as promoted by the Health Ministry - social distancing, mask wearing and hand sanitizing – must be rigidly adhered to in order to minimize the spread of the virus.
Hence, the following minimum health protocols for all candidates, Elections Office staff and Returning Officers in the Turks and Caicos Islands are to be implemented. These minimum health protocols are not a limit on those additional protocols that individuals may choose to adopt. Individuals are encouraged to adopt additional protocols consistent with their specific needs and circumstances to help protect the health and safety, not only of themselves but also that of persons that they come into contact with.
To mitigate the threat of contracting the virus, everyone must rigorously follow the practices specified in these protocols, all of which facilitate the safety measures for candidates, electors, and the Elections Office staff. The virus that causes COVID-19 continues to spread in our communities; it can be spread to others by infected persons who have few or none of the following symptoms:
- shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- repeated shaking, with chills
- muscle pain
- sore throat
- loss of taste or smell
- feeling feverish or a measured temperature greater than or equal to 100.0 degrees Fahrenheit
- known close contact with a person who is lab-confirmed to have COVID-19
It is recognized, and appreciated, that public health guidance cannot anticipate every unique situation. Individuals should stay informed and take the necessary precautions based on common sense and wise judgment that will protect health, and support economic revitalization.
The TCI will be holding nomination day on 29th January 2021. There is a current surge in positive cases of COVID19 across the islands in the TCI affecting the islands of Providenciales, Grand Turk, North Caicos and South Caicos. Extra caution should be taken in order to avoid these events becoming a further opportunity for disease spread during this time.
It is essential that procedures are implemented in order to ensure that these activities can be carried out in the safest possible manner in light of the risks outlined so that the event can be conducted in a way to mitigate against risks to all participants.
Additionally, COVID19 can spread through person to person interactions as well as contact with contaminated items.
General Instructions  for the Place of Nomination:
- Upon entering a place of nomination, candidates must wash or disinfect both Also, they must wash or disinfect both hands after any interaction with elections office workers, agents, or other individuals at the location.
- Hand sanitizer will be provided; and used to disinfect hands before entering and on leaving the
- The wearing of a mask/face covering in public is mandatory so ALL candidates MUST wear a mask/face covering (over both the nose and mouth) while at the location, and when within six feet of another person. If available, individuals should consider wearing non-medical grade face masks.
- Measures should be in place to ensure that there is no overcrowding outside the venue and no public gatherings of persons not required to be present at the place of nomination, which may pose a public health risk.
Instructions for candidates and persons at the Place of Nomination:
- All candidates must comply with all Public and Environmental Health (Covid 19)Regulations in effect on Nomination Day.
- Each political party or independent candidate must consider the absolutely minimum number of candidates and other registered electors required to participate in the Nomination of a Candidate at the Place of Nomination with a view to limiting the number of persons at the location and otherwise traveling with or participating to only those persons required to be present to meet statutory requirements.
- Social distancing must be strictly adhered to whether inside or outside of a building at the place of nomination.
- Face coverings must be worn at all times.
- Proper and frequent hand hygiene and cough/sneeze etiquette must be observed.
- Carpooling to venue must be avoided and where more than one person is in a car, windows should be open to create airflow and face coverings should be used to reduce the risk of infection
- Use of virtual platforms should be considered to limit the number of persons present.
- Implement measures to ensure that members who may be considered a part of the vulnerable group take extra precautions to limit risks.
- Prospective Candidates who are COVID19 positive, especially persons who are symptomatic of COVID19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, diarrhea, headache or loss of sense of taste/smell) and persons who are in quarantine under a quarantine Order are advised to remain in quarantine to mitigate against the risk of disease spread.
- Prospective Candidates who fall within paragraph 9 above who wish to remain in quarantine should arrange for a designated representative who is not in quarantine to deliver their nomination documents to the Returning Officer instead of appearing in person (lowest risk option).
- Should a candidate who falls within paragraph 9 above decide to appear at the place of nomination, in person, additional measures are required to be taken in order to prevent risk to others, including fellow candidates, electors, Elections Office workers and the general public:
Controlled arrangements for in person nomination with the candidate to include:
- doning full PPE prior to leaving quarantine and until returning to quarantine;
- taking the most direct route to the location;
- use of personal vehicle with windows open to facilitate proper ventilation;
- use of KN95 face masks at all times;
- use of gloves and other personal protective equipment;
- minimize time at venue with strict adherence to social distancing of 6 feet and proper ventilation and return to quarantine via the most direct route from site;
- no one from outside of the same household should be inside the vehicle with the candidate;
frequent hand hygiene is also needed.
 N.B. Health Protocols for Election Office Staff and Election Officials as well as venues – are set out in another protocol which should be followed.
CORONAVIRUS EMPLOYEE STIMULUS CASH GRANT #2
CASH GRANTS PAID TO ELIGIBLE EMPLOYEES WITH TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDER STATUS – OVER 1,130 DISBURSED AS OF TODAY, THURSDAY, 28TH JANUARY, 2021 AT 12 NOON
The Turks and Caicos Islands Government has today, Thursday, 28th January 2021, disbursed payments to over 1,130 applications from its CORONAVIRUS EMPLOYEE STIMULUS CASH GRANT #2 Programme.
The dashboard indicates 3,129 applications were received. Of this 1,130 have been disbursed for payment; 558 applications were declined outright, and we continue to await documentation from 583 applicants.
Approximately 850 applications are being processed of which another 300 is expected to be disbursed by January’s month-end.
Recurring challenges have inhibited the progression of payments to eligible applicants as similar issues encountered in Employee Stimulus #1 have been seen in the administration of Employee Stimulus #2.
The assessors have had to wade through hundreds of applications emanating from persons without Turks and Caicos Islander status and/or have not provided documentation verifying their status as Turks and Caicos Islanders. Some applicants have failed to complete the application properly; omitting employer names, required payslips and providing wrong bank numbers, etc.
Applicants are encouraged to check their emails for responses from the Compliance Team and to provide outstanding documentation as soon as practical. Applicants are also being called by a Compliance Officer to be alerted of some of the omissions from the applications that can be easily remedied. The promptness of the response to these queries will determine how quickly the benefit will progress to payment.
A list of the disbursed applications as of Thursday, 28th January 2021 can be found on the Turks and Caicos Islands Government website: https://online.fliphtml5.com/pejq/ffqq/#p=1
The Team is working assiduously to progress the remaining approved benefits; total approvals were 1,988 at the time of reporting.
The Coronavirus Employee Stimulus Cash Grant #2 is paid to employees with Turks and Caicos Islander Status only. Employment sectors excluded from the benefit are: TCI public service; TCI statutory bodies; TCI bodies of good governance; TCI constitutional bodies; Hospital, health care or medical facilities; any water, electricity, telecommunications (including internet services) or other sector encompassing the provision of electronic communications including print and electronic media; waste disposal and sanitation companies; and self-employed persons.
The Coronavirus Employee Stimulus Cash Grant #2 will afford cash grants of $600.00 to eligible employees who can provide evidence that they were employed at least one month prior to the lockdown that occurred in March 2020.
Ministry of Health Updates on COVID19 Health Hotlines
The Ministry of Health (MOH) implemented Health Hotlines early in the COVID19 pandemic in order to provide advice and guidance to persons who have either developed symptoms consistent with COVID19 or have had contact with suspected or confirmed cases in order to provide further guidance.
The Hotlines are operated by trained MOH personnel who provide information based on interviews with each caller. This may lead to persons being referred to the Contact Tracing/Public Health Team for further action.
The hotlines can be contacted at (649) 232 9444 or (649) 333 0911 and the hours of operation are 7am-7pm daily. If persons contact the hotlines and are unsuccessful, they are asked to leave a voice or text message with contact details and their calls will be returned.
If anyone is having an emergency such as experiencing shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, they are asked to contact 911 immediately and inform the 911 operator if they are experiencing symptoms of COVID19, whether they have been diagnosed with COVID19 or are in quarantine. This will ensure that the responding team including the hospital is prepared to receive persons needing urgent interventions.
TCI records highest daily count for New Cases of Covid-19
The Ministry of Health, through the National Public Health Laboratory, tested a record number of samples yesterday 26.1.2021 and also recorded the highest number of positive cases of Covid-19 since beginning of the pandemic. The National Public Health Laboratory tested a total of 183 samples and 74 were positive.
The distribution of the new confirmed cases is as follows;
Grand Turk 9
South Caicos 3
North Caicos 3
This will be reflected in today’s dashboard which will be published later today.
The Public Health Team have already commenced aggressive contact tracing activities across the islands in response to this development.
The general public is being reminded to do their part to prevent the further spread of this disease within the TCI.
Persons are reminded to stay home and contact the health hotlines if experiencing symptoms or signs of Covid-19; which may include fever, cough, shortness of breath, diarrhea, vomiting, headaches, joint/muscle pain and loss of the sense of smell/taste. If you have severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing, please call 911 immediately and inform the operator of your symptoms so all necessary precautions can be taken.
Everyone is asked to take the relevant precautions at all times to protect one another and in particular those in the vulnerable groups:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds
- Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not accessible
- Cover your cough/sneeze with your elbow or a tissue and properly dispose of it
- Wear face coverings in public
- Practice social distancing of 6 feet
- Stay home if you have symptoms of Covid-19 and call the health hotlines on 232 9444 or 333 0911
- Symptoms of Covid-19 include: cough, headache, shortness of breath, fever, diarrhea, loss of sense of taste or smell
- Avoid mass gatherings and social gatherings
- Avoid non-essential travel including local, regional and international travel
- Cooperate fully with contact tracing teams if you are contacted
- Comply with quarantine to prevent any further spread of Covid-19
- Do not discriminate against persons suspected of having Covid-19, it can happen to anyone
- Stay informed-visit the Ministry of Health website for up to date information on https://www.gov.tc/moh/coronavirus/.
- Protect yourself by getting vaccinated. Register online today at https://covidvaccineregistration.gov.tc.
- Important Notice: Temporary Closure of Supreme Court and Magistrate's Court, Providenciales
- MINISTRY OF HEALTH UPDATES THE PUBLIC ON TESTING FOR COVID-19 IN THE TCI
- Hon. Attorney General Rhondalee Braithwaite-Knowles announces the appointment of Khalila Astwood-Tatem as the new Deputy Attorney General
- SUCCESFUL INTERCEPTION OF AN ILLEGAL MIGRANT VESSEL
- SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION 2021
- “Temporary Closure of Revenue Department, Exchange of Information and Budget office Wilma House Grand Turk”
- DECR South Caicos Office temporarily relocated
- Registrar's Notice No. 1 of 2021 - Adjournment of Criminal Jury Trials in the Supreme Court
- TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS REGIMENT RECRUITMENT
- Over 300 Persons Vaccinated During First Week of Rollout in the TCI