Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr. The Most Honourable Kenneth George, has indicated that the Ministry of Health and Wellness would be using self-isolation as a means of containment to tackle the surge in Omicron cases.
Speaking during a COVID-19 update at Ilaro Court this evening, Dr. George shared the Ministry’s plans.
“We believe that it is critical that based on these models we use self-isolation as a means of containment. And what is self-isolation? Self-isolation is the process in which individuals will remain and stay put in a particular place for up to 10 days at a time. This makes sure that that individual does not mix or mingle with individuals who are close or within their immediate presence,” he stated.
Dr. George added that the concept of self-isolation is built on personal responsibility and commitment.
The Chief Medical Officer went on to explain the categories being used to assess persons and the care that would be administered.
“We have three categories – green, yellow, and red. The reds are easy. Those are the individuals who will require almost immediate attention and that will be provided by Harrison’s Point or any such isolation facilities. The greens are individuals who are asymptomatic or very mildly symptomatic and do not have risk factors for an adverse outcome for COVID. Those individuals will be the individuals under the self-isolation programme.
“And then the final category is the category in the middle, the yellow category. And what we have decided based on good public health advice is that those persons who are yellow and are not vaccinated are the individuals who will require an assessment in a facility. The individuals who are yellow and who are vaccinated, we will keep a special eye on you, but you will be quarantined at home. So, that is our plan with respect to handling the large surge,” Dr. George explained.
The CMO assured the public that during the projected modelling of the Omicron surge six to seven weeks, that the Ministry of Health and Wellness “will be there to hold your hands during the process of self-isolation”.
However, he advised that because of the high numbers projected (3,500 cases per day) persons would be isolating with minimal medical intervention, but would receive assistance if issues occurred.
Dr. George noted that another aspect of the plan is to encourage the public to receive a COVID-19 booster, which, he said, was “the best chance … for you and for us to be able to protect ourselves”.
“Many of you know that Barbados was way in front of the Caribbean. We were way in front of the Caribbean with respect to vaccinations, and we were way in front of the Caribbean with respect to booster shots. We are under 50 per cent of the population who could be boosted and we would like to see that rise to 70 or 75 per cent very shortly, but boosters give us the best opportunity for protection,” he stressed.
Dr. George added that the Ministry would continue to work with members of the public, guiding them through the process, and would continue to provide information with respect to the COVID -19 situation in the country.
The Chief Medical Officer also shared that 40 samples had been sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency for testing for the Omicron SARS-CoV-2 variant, and upon receipt of the results, the public would be informed.