Barbados is in a dire situation right now, where COVID-19 is concerned.
Acting Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Anton Best, revealed this today during a press conference chaired by COVID-19 Public Advisor, David Ellis.
Noting that over the last few weeks, the country had experienced a very high incidence of COVID-19 cases, he said: “If you look at the rate of cases in August or the total number of cases in August of this year, we had 689 cases. In September, we had 3,500 cases of COVID detected, that’s a 500 per cent increase in the number of cases. And so far, for October, we’ve had over 1,000 cases. So, we have already surpassed the total tally for the month of August.
“I think it was in the dashboard from two days ago that we reported we had 318 cases. And this is 318 cases in a one-day period, which was significantly higher than the 270 daily case average up until that point. And then in the dashboard for yesterday, we had 300 persons identified on October 5.
Anticipating that today’s numbers would likely reflect the same by the time the figures were known, Dr. Best stressed: “So, we have a dire situation on our hands folks. The Delta variant is a game changer and has made containment of this virus and of spread extremely difficult.”
The Acting Chief Medical Officer maintained that it was important to get Barbadians to understand what was required of them and the cooperation needed, as it relates to what is happening.
He noted that it was 18 months into the pandemic; we were into a third wave with the situation grave because the numbers are going up, and it would not be surprising if the incidence went up even further.
Meanwhile, addressing the numbers in isolation, he said although the dashboard reports on the number of persons in isolation facilities, what was not reflected on it was the total number of active cases in Barbados.
Noting that the Home Isolation Programme was started because there was no choice but to have persons who were COVID-19 positive in the community, he said: “So, we have just under 1,500 persons….in isolation in the community. So that has to be added to the figure that’s in the dashboard, which yesterday was 800. So, we have a significant number of active cases of COVID in Barbados.”
The senior health official, lamenting the situation, said what was particularly disconcerting to him was the fact that the island had a relatively low uptake of vaccines.
Acknowledging that vaccines were effective and safe, he reiterated they could reduce transmission risk, but most importantly, reduce the severity of COVID-19 disease.
He also revealed that the Ministry of Health and Wellness was very concerned about the number of people dying from the illness.
And, while Dr. Best stressed more people were going to die from COVID-19 when there is more spread in the community, he restated the need for persons to understand what the island was dealing with, adding that it required both a whole of government and society approach.
“We really require persons in the community to have an understanding as to where we are; why we are here, and what role they play in helping us to combat this deadly pandemic,” Dr. Best urged.