Barbados today confirmed 12 new cases of COVID-19.
Acting Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr. Kenneth George, revealed at a Press conference that nine of the newly diagnosed patients were part of the Ghanaian contingent of 95 public health nurses, which arrived last Thursday on a two-year assignment.
The other three were a Barbadian female who returned to the island on July 25, a male visitor who arrived on July 30, and a Barbadian man who arrived from the United Kingdom with a negative test, but who when required to be tested to travel again, returned a positive test result.
The Acting Chief Medical Officer said that this case was still under investigation and will involve extensive contact tracing.
He revealed that all the patients were asymptomatic, adding “indeed, it is significant that only one person had a cut-off level in the results, which suggests that person may be in the acute phase of infection. The remaining persons are likely to be in the recovery phase”.
Everyone who tested positive was immediately placed in isolation at Harrison’s Point, in accordance with the protocols, the Acting CMO stated.
Dr. George said he was confident that the public health protocols were working, allowing health officials to detect positive cases at the ports of entry and before arriving passengers were allowed to mix with the general population.
“From the beginning, the Ministry of Health and Wellness has made it clear that testing of all arriving passengers for COVID-19 was a necessary pre-condition for reopening our borders to international travel and resuming regular air services.
“I am satisfied that the protocol, which dictates that travellers either arrive with a validated PCR negative test already in hand, or are tested on arrival, is helping us to mitigate the risk of transmission during air travel and reduce the risk of importation within our small island.”
He explained that the rationale of the second test at day seven was because the Ministry recognised that there was a risk of exposure in the 72-hour period in which people are advised to be tested before arriving in Barbados.
“Hence, on day seven, before they leave quarantine and are indeed high risk, they must have a second test before they can be released out of quarantine. And, if they refuse, they are kept in quarantine for another seven days making it a total of 14 days. This is in keeping with the international thinking on quarantine.”
Dr. George said that a new refined protocol was being issued to make it absolutely clear to persons before they come what will be required of them.
Stressing the Ministry’s commitment to ensuring the safety of all residents of Barbados, he observed: “Many of you have heard the Prime Minister repeatedly state that when we are managing complex situations, we do not get to choose the circumstances we face, but we are obligated to deal with them. Today is just another one of those days!”
Meanwhile, two more people will leave the isolation facility at Harrison’s Point today after recovering from COVID-19. This brings the total number of persons who have recovered to 98, while 17 persons remain in isolation.
Barbados has now recorded 122 cases of COVID-19 and the Best-dos Santos Public Health Laboratory has completed 11, 288 tests.