COVID-19 update and press conference at Ilaro Court – January 28, 2021. (PMO)

The Ministry of Health and Wellness is investigating the circumstances surrounding a patient at the Geriatric Hospital, Beckles Road, St. Michael, who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Stating that the contact tracing efforts into the case were in train, Minister of Health, Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic, disclosed that the individual was on a ward which had about 16 persons in addition to staff.  However, he pointed out that the patient was isolated and tested, on developing symptoms.

Lt. Col. Bostic explained that patients and staff at the hospital, also known as the St. Michael District Hospital, were tested for the viral illness. He said the priority was to manage and contain its spread.

“So far, all of the residents or patients as well as all of the staff have done an antigen rapid test and all results are negative. As we speak, the staff is going through the swabbing process for the PCR test and then the same will happen with the patients,” he stated.

He further outlined that once patients and staff returned negative results following the tests, staff would be taken to a designated quarantine hotel while patients would be transferred to the St. Lucy District Hospital, where they will receive the appropriate care.

The Health Minister assured relatives of those residents who will be quarantined that their loved ones were in good hands.

He added that those patients who remained at the Geriatric Hospital would continue to be looked after by members of staff who were not affected.

The Geriatric Hospital. (FP)

Minister Bostic said public health officials had done all in their power to protect vulnerable populations within the island’s hospitals from the virus.

“We’ve done everything possible to prevent this day from coming, but it is here, and we are dealing with it…. This particular case had to be [one] where the virus came into the hospital and that is being investigated because obviously if a patient has been in the hospital for several years or several months then they would not have had the opportunity to go on the outside.

“Our situation in Barbados at the moment as it relates to our hospitals and our medical facilities … we have been impacted also by what has happened in the general population. But the vast majority of the cases that we’ve had, involving medical or healthcare personnel really, have been cases related to contacts within the community and not from within the hospitals themselves,” Lt. Col. Bostic explained.

The discovery of the positive case at the Geriatric Hospital came on the heels of some promising news, this time at a private elder care facility.

One of the island’s most recent COVID-19 victims, an elderly man in his 80s, was booked into a nursing home in the south last week before going to the Accident & Emergency Department of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, where he passed away.

“We’ve been able to determine that the case did not start there [at the nursing home] because the person would’ve been there for a minimum period of time, approximately an hour and a half or so. This one obviously was a challenge and a worry, but fortunately we were able to get on top of this, and I can report that all of the residents of the nursing home and all of the staff have done antigen tests and PCR tests that have come back negative, and they are now awaiting the results of the second PCR tests so that we can determine and go from there. So, we are very much on top of this one,” he emphasised.

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