Minister of Health and Wellness, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Bostic, speaking to the media this morning following a visit to the Barbados Defence Force’s new field medical facility at Jemmotts Lane, St. Michael. (C.Pitt/BGIS)

Barbados’ newest isolation facility for COVID-19-positive cases, located at Harrison Point, St. Lucy, received the first patients today.

Minister of Health and Wellness, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Bostic, speaking to the media this morning, revealed that six patients, three from the Enmore facility and three from the Blackman and Gollop facility, were expected to be transferred today.

Noting that this was the start of the process, he said that the 200-plus bed centre was “set up and ready to go”. 

The nursing complement at the facility is expected to be boosted by a number of Cuban nurses currently in Barbados to assist with the COVID-19 response, the Minister stated.

Commenting on the fact that that there have been no positive cases of COVID-19 in Barbados in the last four days, Minister Bostic cautioned: “Although this is indeed an encouraging sign, we are not yet out of the woods. We cannot take our guard down…. We are encouraged but we know very well that there is no certainty as to whether or not we have cases out there in the community.”

He said that the public health teams were working diligently every day to track down any cases which may have gone undetected so far.

He noted that while Barbados had an adequate supply of testing kits, there was a shortage of swabs.  Supplies of swabs were expected “within a week or so”, he disclosed, and once they arrived, the teams would be able to expand the number of tests currently carried out on a daily basis. 

“That would then give us a better idea of where we are.  So, we will have a couple of weeks to go before we can say exactly where we are, but we are indeed encouraged by the last few days,” the Minister of Health and Wellness shared.

Minister Bostic reported that the call by the Ministry for persons who travelled into Barbados between March 15 and 22 to make contact had had a good response and some of those persons were now among confirmed cases for COVID-19.

He said that this was a continuous process and the Ministry was still reaching out and making every avenue available for persons to check in with the public health authorities so that they could keep abreast of that situation.

“But we know within another two weeks or so we would be in a very good position in terms of making some determinations where those persons are concerned, based on the length of time they would have been on island and the length of time some of them would have been in quarantine or isolation, along with the contact tracing we have been doing in this regard.”

He praised the public health teams for their dedication to the task and noted that once Barbadians continued to cooperate and collaborate with authorities, he believed that the country would be able to arrest the situation.

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