Barbados has had an increase in its COVID-19 cumulative incidence during the period August 11 to 26.

Minister of Health and Wellness, Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic, shared this information during a COVID-19 update from Ilaro Court, this evening.

Minister Bostic began by pointing out that Barbados’ goal was to have the cumulative incidents at below 25 cases per 100,000 and that was achieved.  However, in the last few weeks that had changed.

“Between the 18th and 26th of August, the cumulative incidence has reached 55 per 100,000, and for the two-week period 11th to 26th of August, 99 per 100,000,” Minister Bostic disclosed.

He continued that for the period August 18th to 26th, 6,934 COVID-19 tests were conducted on Barbadian residents, and from those tests, 167 positive cases were discovered, which is 2.4 per cent of the total number of tests carried out.

The Health Minister pointed out that what was alarming and a game changer “is the fact that we have recorded 29 positive children under the age of 12”.

Giving a review of tests conducted by the Best-dos Santos Public Health Laboratory over the last four days, the Minister noted that based on the number of positive cases, the Ministry was not surprised, but is indeed most concerned.

“This is indeed not a joke.  The Delta variant, which we’ve indicated has arrived in Barbados, is a highly transmissible kind of this coronavirus, COVID-19, very highly transmissible.  And we have been seeing the impact of the Delta variant here in Barbados, and I must add that at this stage, we strongly believe that the measures that we have taken back in January, February has served us very very well at this point in time, in dealing with this situation,” he stated.

Minister Bostic noted that through the initial or preliminary screening done by the lab that most of the persons testing positive would have been in hotel quarantine as a result of contact tracing.  He indicated, however, that there were still one or two cases that they had been unable to link to an existing case.

 “We have to be most vigilant in this country in how we go about our business, in observing all of the public health measures and protocols, and in looking out for each other, to see if there’s anyone at all who is displaying any form of symptoms, that we try to get those persons to do what is right, which is to come forward and be tested,” he stressed.

Lt. Col. Bostic stated that Government had been “doing everything possible” to manage and mitigate the different COVID-19 variants, and over the last six weeks, the Ministry had been doing a lot of work and planning.

“We would have been doing some surge planning; enhancing our capacity in several areas and at all levels.  Developing contingency plans for isolation, for quarantine, for contact tracing, for testing; ensuring that we have adequate supplies at least three or four months’ supply, so that we can cope with what is coming,” the Health Minister pointed out.

He emphasised that the previous strategies implemented have been working very well for the country. “I believe strongly that this [Delta variant] is going to challenge us, yes, but this does not and must not defeat us.  We can win here if we continue to do the right things – the different layers of defence,” he added.   

sheena.forde-craigg@barbados.gov.bb

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