COVID-19 update and press conference – January 12th, 2021. (PMO)

Government is continuing to manage the COVID-19 pandemic and the situation is not out of control.

Minister of Health and Wellness, Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic, reported an additional 84 new cases during today’s COVID-19 update and press conference, but stressed that there was no need for alarm.

Lt. Colonel Bostic told the media: We have not lost control because we still have the capacity to deal with what we are dealing with, even though in one or two areas, which we would have mentioned, that capacity has been stretched.

“Stretched, but not broken; broken but can be fixed, and we are fixing those areas. So, I am saying to you that we are very much managing the situation. There is no need for alarm at all, or panic. But, we are not going to rest until we are absolutely satisfied that we have it fully under control. And when we have it fully under control, is when the numbers are going to be on the decline in the way that we anticipate.”

The Minister said he would not report that the situation was completely under control because there were some issues officials were grappling with.

“In relation, for example, to the testing and the return of results, we admitted that we have been struggling with that and … I am very hopeful because of the steps that we’ve taken, and what I’m seeing happening now, that we are going to get out of this in the coming days,” he stated.

He noted that officials were doing everything possible to contain the situation, and explained that the positive cases being seen were predominantly linked to the clusters identified.

During the conference, Minister Bostic emphasised the importance of contact tracing, saying that was the only way to contain the spread by finding those primary contacts.

Senior Medical Officer, Dr. Anton Best, urged persons to cooperate with the Ministry of Health officials who were engaging in COVID-19 investigations. (PMO)

“If we do not do … the contact tracing with the primary contacts, in order to stop the spread, we will not win this battle …. Contact tracing is vitally important to what we are doing now, and the teams are out there doing a fantastic job to find all of those primary contacts.

“I can tell you, up to yesterday … there were about 253 primary contacts that we have been investigating, and this is really germane to the effort to contain the situation, so that we can get back to some degree of normalcy that we enjoyed for nine or 10 months,” he stated.

Senior Medical Officer, Dr. Anton Best, also underscored the importance of contact tracing and urged persons to cooperate with the Ministry of Health officials who were engaging in that investigation. 

He pointed out that it was necessary for people to be honest, since it would help in containing the spread of the virus.

“So, we do have scenarios in which persons do not want to reveal all of the information and if they don’t reveal the information to the investigators, we are not going to be able to say, well this person is part of this cluster; if they’re hiding something from us.

“For instance, if somebody went on the bus crawl but for whatever reason, did not say, yes I was on the bus crawl, which everybody’s talking about, then we’re going to have a person that we have a question mark over, so how did this person get COVID,” Dr. Best explained.

sharon.austingill-moore@barbados.gov.bb

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