COVID-19 update and press conference – Feb. 26, 2021. (PMO)

A decreasing positivity rate since the middle of this month is a good sign, but health authorities want Barbadians to remain cautious in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This pronouncement was made by Senior Medical Officer, Dr. Anton Best, as he provided a brief analysis of data related to COVID-19, during a press conference at Ilaro Court.

Addressing the overall trends, Dr. Best acknowledged the importance of paying “very close attention” to certain indices, one of these being “the positivity rate”; the other “the seven-day rolling average”.

While pointing out that the backlog of the previous weeks and months no longer existed, he told the media that health officials are now able to state, for instance, that the cases diagnosed on Thursday (February 25), apart from the ones who were previously admitted for assessments, were persons who were actually tested on that day.

Explaining further, he said: “So, we also went through a process where the previous cases we assigned them to the day that they were actually tested, and not the days that they were reported. So then, we looked at the positivity rates.

“And when we did that, we saw that we had a gradually rising positivity rate from the beginning of the year when this outbreak started. And it peaked around February 14, around February 15.  And since then, there’s been a decreasing positivity rate, which is a good sign. And that’s a trend that we want to keep up.”

Dr. Best also noted that there were other indices to pay attention to, such as the total number of cases. “We do look at what we call the rolling average, [the] seven- day rolling average. And that gives us a sense as to what is happening; where this epidemic is going. And when we do that, we also see that the overall trends are speaking to the epidemic easing up,” he explained.

However, he cautioned against complacency and reminded Barbadians they still needed to continue to adhere to the measures; pay attention to hand hygiene; wear face masks at all times and remember physical distancing. 

“So, all of those will contribute to declining infection rate of COVID-19 in Barbados, but we all as individuals have a role to play in order to beat this COVID-19 epidemic,” he said.

The Senior Medical Officer, while alluding to the gradual reopening of the country, noted that if health authorities realise “things start to change” because of “relaxing a bit”, then there would be some response.

“We are very responsive and we’re going to continue to make recommendations, where that is concerned; where the directives and social measures are concerned.

“One thing I will state is that it may not be very sustainable to continue what we’ve been doing under Directive Four, but we in the Ministry of Health have made the recommendation that there can be some relaxation, and that is why they (Government) relaxed. The measures that are being implemented are very cautious, but I stress that we will also be very responsive to the indices that we are paying close attention to,” he said.

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