The number of children testing positive for COVID-19 is on the increase, with 41 children under 18 years testing positive between August 25 and 27.
And, with Barbados recording as many as 92 new cases on Friday and another death early this morning, health officials are appealing to parents, other family members, and the general public to get vaccinated to protect the vulnerable in communities across the island.
Senior Medical Officer in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Dr. Ingrid Cumberbatch, made this plea as she addressed a virtual press conference on the heels of the latest figures released today.
Sharing statistics from the last three days, the Senior Medical Officer outlined that of the 21 cases recorded on August 25, there were seven children under age 18; on August 26, eight persons out of the 48 cases recorded were under 18 years, and on August 27, 26 out of the 92 cases were children under age 18.
This, she said, translated to 41 out of the 161 confirmed cases over the three-day period being children under the age of 18, representing 25 per cent of the total for that time frame, while those 18 years and over represented 75 per cent.
“So what we are seeing is more children are being infected and ill with symptoms,” Dr. Cumberbatch stated.
However, she pointed out that contact tracing was still ongoing for August 27, and the data was, therefore, not complete.
“I want to take this opportunity again to encourage all Barbadians to please, cooperate to the fullest extent with your contact tracers. They are working to help you, and they are working to help the whole of Barbados, so be as cooperative as you possibly can,” she pleaded.
Dr. Cumberbatch also appealed to the public to go to the doctor if they felt sick or experienced symptoms of the cold, sinus, flu, diarrhea or vomiting.
“Do not stay home sick, and certainly do not go to work, or take your child to daycare; go to the doctor and go and get a COVID test. Know your status and protect your loved ones,” she advised.
She also said that the figures show that the majority of persons becoming infected were unvaccinated. On August 25, 95 per cent of those infected were unvaccinated, and 85 per cent on August 26.
Dr. Cumberbatch added that this translates to entire families and households being affected, with three families impacted on August 25; six families on August 26, and 13 families on August 27.
The Senior Medical Officer urged the public to protect the vulnerable in their communities, such as the elderly, those with chronic diseases and those who cannot yet be vaccinated, such as very young children.
“I have presented the evidence to you. And again, I will encourage you to reduce the risk of spread amongst your families and other vulnerable loved ones by adding that additional layer of getting vaccinated,” she stated.
Dr. Cumberbatch further advised persons to wear their masks when visiting other households.
“We need to think about what we are doing… not sometimes, but all the time. It is not easy, but we need to make the effort, because these are the things that are going to reduce the risk to ourselves and to others. We need to protect our vulnerable ones,” she stressed.
In addition to maintaining a balanced diet and taking supplements, she reminded the public to practise all the layers of the protocols – hand hygiene, which is hand washing and sanitising; wearing a face mask to cover the nose and the mouth; physical distancing, and vaccination.
“[It is] your choice Barbados. You need to decide what layers you’re going to use, and how many,” she said.