Barbadian families have been urged to take care of their positive COVID-19 relatives who meet the criteria to isolate within the home, and not ask them to leave the household.
Consultant Manager of Home Isolation, Dr. Adana Grandison, today gave the assurance that COVID-19 positive patients could safely home isolate with negative family members without spreading the virus, if the necessary precautions are put in place.
Speaking during a virtual press conference to provide a COVID-19 update, Dr. Grandison noted that there was a “significant amount of panic” about how negative persons should handle themselves in a household where a family member tested positive for the virus.
“We have had a few unfortunate situations where persons would have become COVID positive and would have been asked to leave the home by their family members; placed on the outside,” she said.
However, the doctor stressed that COVID was not a death sentence, and outlined a series of measures to be taken in the event that a family member has tested positive and asked to home isolate.
Some of these measure include: the use of a properly fitted face mask; the frequent sanitisation of a shared bathroom and regularly touched surfaces, such as handles, sink knobs and the toilet bowl handle to flush, with antibacterial wipes like Lysol or Clorox wipes or Clorox mixed with water.
She added that in cases where a COVID-19 positive person needed to share a bed with a family member who was negative, then they should do so in a head-to-toe situation, and facing away from each other.
Positive breastfeeding mothers were also encouraged to continue breastfeeding their infants, but to ensure that they wear a mask while doing so.
Dr. Grandison further encouraged persons isolating at home to “allow themselves to be pampered” and have their meals prepared and brought to them, while staying in their room, where possible.
These meals, the doctor pointed out, should be brought preferably in disposable containers, but should regular household wares be used, they should be washed with warm water and soap, and allowed to dry.
Dr. Grandison also acknowledged the importance of mental health, and noted that in the event that the COVID-19 positive person needed to leave the room for any reason, then they should wear a mask in the presence of other family members.
She also urged persons who notice relatives developing symptoms such as shortness of breath, extreme weakness or tiredness, and loss of consciousness or fainting to seek assistance urgently.
Dr. Grandison said that with the prevailing Omicron variant, doctors were seeing an increase in cases of persons with vomiting and diarrhoea. In such cases, she advised persons to “take it nice and slow”, and to use small volumes of fluid to remain hydrated.
Noting that the Omicron wave appears to be mild for the majority of persons, given the predominance of non-communicable diseases, Dr. Grandison advised persons to pay close attention to monitoring their blood pressure and blood sugar, and eating healthy foods.
There are currently 9,575 persons in the home isolation programme, with 3,426 of them being categorised as ‘green’, meaning they are not showing any symptoms. To date, there have been 17,287 persons discharged, and eight deaths recorded, under the programme.