COVID-19 update and press conference – March 1, 2021. (PMO)

Families are being urged to create an “entry ritual” requiring all those entering their homes to sanitise their hands and keep infection out of homes.

This call is coming from Senior Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Leslie Rollock, who indicating that it was no surprise that the bulk of COVID-19 infections in Barbados were occurring in “families and communities where there is close mixing”.

Speaking during the latest COVID-19 press conference this evening at the Ministry of Health on the matter of contact tracing, Dr. Rollock stressed that it was important for families to ensure that infections were not introduced into their homes by adopting certain behaviours.

She suggested that families should consider disinfecting or washing hands when entering the home. “The home is usually a safe space where you relax…. So, you may need to create an entry ritual to ensure that you are not bringing infection into your home space for everyone else in the household to be affected,” she said.

Dr. Rollock further advised persons going from one part of the family dwelling to the next, to treat the other household as though it was a bubble and ensure that proper disinfecting measures were appropriately used upon entry.

“We may be able to stop the spread between families who may not be members of the same house,” she suggested, while cautioning them to have “circumspect” interactions with the very frail and vulnerable members of the family.

The Senior Medical Officer of Health also urged persons to be vaccinated when the opportunity arose, but, at the same time, she warned that getting vaccinated did not guarantee immediate immunity where persons could forget about protocols such as temperature checks and the wearing of masks.

“We still need to practise the infection prevention control measures to protect other people…,” she stated.

In explaining the procedure involving contact tracing, Dr. Rollock said contacts could occur directly in cases where an infected person in a household interacted with others for more than 15 minutes at a distance of three to six feet apart.

“Those persons would be identified as being primary contacts of the known case. Most interactions with family and friends are close,” she pointed out.

She added that if a primary contact tested positive, those persons whom they came into contact with, whether in the workplace or neighbourhood, would then be identified as secondary contacts of a known case.

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