WHAT IS COMMUNITY SPREAD?
Community spread refers to the spread of a contagious disease, such as COVID-19, to individuals in a particular geographical location who have had no known contact with other infected individuals.
DOES BARBADOS HAVE ANY INSTANCES OF COMMUNITY SPREAD?
As of May 14, Barbados recorded five cases out of 85 for whom no known contacts have been found. The first case was identified more than six weeks ago, yet there is no indication of any increase in infections. That investigation has been closed. The other cases are still under investigation at this time.
WHAT IS CONTACT TRACING AND HOW IS IT CONDUCTED?
Contact tracing is the process of identifying persons who may have come into contact with an infected person and the subsequent collection of information about these contacts. By tracing the close contacts of infected individuals; testing them for infection; treating the infected; and tracing their close contacts in turn, public health aims to reduce infections in the population. Infected persons go into isolation, and confirmed and probable contacts go into quarantine.
A close contact is a person who has been exposed to a confirmed case under one or more of the following conditions during the 14 days before, and the 14 days after the onset of symptoms:
- Face-to-face contact with a confirmed case within three feet and for more than 15 minutes
- Direct physical contact with a probable or confirmed case
- Direct care for a patient with probable or confirmed COVID-19 disease without using proper personal protective equipment
- Other situations as indicated by local risk assessments
For confirmed asymptomatic cases, the period of contact is measured as the 14 days before through to the 14 days after the date on which the confirmation sample was taken.
WHAT ARE THE GOALS OF CONTACT TRACING?
Contact tracing aims to rapidly detect COVID-19 and any evidence of human-to-human transmission among contacts, and to reduce human-to-human transmission; prevent outbreaks; and delay the spread of disease.
WHAT IS SELF OR HOME QUARANTINE?
Self or home quarantine is imposed when the person is not sick, but may have come into contact with someone who is COVID-19 positive. The person is confined to his/her home for 14 days from the date of last possible exposure and monitored by public health officers for symptoms. When a contact quarantines at home, the entire household is also placed in quarantine.
WHERE CAN YOU BE QUARANTINED OTHER THAN AT HOME?
The Ministry of Health and Wellness may determine that the persons being placed in quarantine should not be in their homes, but that the 14 days must be spent at a medical or other specially designated facility.
At the moment, anyone arriving in Barbados must quarantine for 14 days at a government facility free of cost, or at a designated hotel at their own expense. Persons in quarantine are monitored to ensure that they continue to be well. Once they complete the quarantine period, they are issued with documentation to this effect.
WHAT IS ISOLATION?
Persons are placed in isolation when they have tested positive for COVID-19. They are isolated at a medical facility such as Harrison Point or Paragon, and must remain there until they recover and have received two negative test results for the viral illness.
WHAT IS THE EXPANDED LIST OF SYMPTOMS FOR COVID-19
- Respiratory symptoms such as cough and shortness of breath
- Anosmia (loss of smell)
- Ageusia (loss of taste)
- Gastrointestinal complaints, including anorexia, nausea, diarrhea and abdominal pain
WHO CAN BE TESTED FOR COVID-19 IN BARBADOS?
Anyone who wishes to be tested for COVID-19, whether they are experiencing symptoms or not, can request a test at the St. Philip Polyclinic, Six Roads, or the Eunice Gibson Polyclinic at Warrens.
The other testing sites, which include all the other polyclinics and the Paragon, Christ Church facility, are reserved for persons who have been referred for testing after experiencing symptoms, or have been identified as a contact of a known case. Persons attending Queen Elizabeth Hospital who are assessed as possibly having COVID-19 may be swabbed there, or at the Clinical Decision Unit on Jemmotts Lane.