COVID-19 Update and press conference – July 11, 2021. (PMO)

As Barbados intensifies its efforts to address a spike in COVID-19 cases, persons with respiratory symptoms or children with gastrointestinal symptoms are being urged to go to their doctor or nearest polyclinic for assessment.

Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr. Kenneth George, made this plea today, as he disclosed that three children with the virus, had presented at the Winston Scott polyclinic, independently, with gastrointestinal symptoms.  

He noted that those children had a “bit” of abdominal pain, and diarrhea, which was an unusual symptom for the virus.

“At the beginning of the COVID outbreak and even now, we always said that children and teenagers have generally a good course and present without any symptoms. Our experience, particularly in recent times, is that children are presenting with symptoms across the spectrum.

“The symptoms are typically respiratory, but what we have been finding is that the symptoms have now been gastrointestinal. And therefore, parents who have a child at home, if they are uncertain, please come to the nearest polyclinic or your private physician to have that child assessed,” Dr. George urged.

The Chief Medical Officer made the comments as he addressed a press conference on COVID-19, where he shared that 40 new cases had been reported for July 10, and six persons were currently being assessed at the Harrison Point Isolation Facility.

He said the increase in numbers was alarming and disclosed that the positivity rate had risen from about .6% to 1.6%. In addition, he stated that the cases per 100,000, now stood at 38.

In explaining the numbers being shared with the media, Dr. George continued: “Of major concern is a church in St. Michael, which recorded 33 new cases…. In addition, there is a large business house, which has 21 members in total that have tested positive.”  

He pointed out that those numbers included the employees of the business, close contacts and three family members.  

“In addition, we are also looking closely at a family within St George that has a total of 10 individuals that have tested positive. There is another business establishment with four individuals and in addition to that, we had a total of three persons who entered our borders, who came on a Caribbean Airlines flight, and those three individuals tested positive for coronavirus,” he stated.

The Chief Medical Officer said persons with the virus were presenting with symptoms and that was worrisome because that meant the person would be transmitting the virus.

He therefore urged persons to come early for testing, and implored Barbadians to cooperate fully with the contact tracing team.

“It is important for full transparency, so that the people on the ground can do their work.  It doesn’t make any sense if you give information only about half your contacts. We need full disclosure.

“We handle that information in a manner that doesn’t compromise persons’ identities, etc.  But at the end of the day, what we are trying to do is protect all members of the public,” he stressed.

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