Persons placed on home quarantine for monitoring of possible COVID-19 symptoms are largely complying and adhering to recommendations given by local public health officials.
Acting Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr. Anton Best, made the assertion during an appearance on CBC TV 8 last night, which focused on the measures now in place since Barbados reached Stage 3 of its COVID-19 National Preparedness Plan.
He, however, tempered this by saying that there were “one or two” instances, initially, of individuals breaching the guidelines of home quarantine.
Dr. Best further disclosed that there were 199 persons currently on home quarantine who were discovered through meticulous contact tracing, in an effort to contain the spread of the virus.
Additionally, he noted that the 26 persons – 12 men and 14 women – diagnosed with COVID-19, who are in isolation, range in age from 20 to 76 years old.
“The process of contact tracing is governed by teams in the polyclinics, and we are utilizing all nine polyclinics. So, if you are a case in a particular catchment, the public health team from that particular polyclinic does the contact tracing whether it is a person’s home, workplace or social environment.
He continued: “Part of that is daily monitoring of persons to see who have developed symptoms and ensuring that they adhere to the guidelines that we have set for them; they are not to leave their homes while in quarantine.”
On the matter of frontline workers being tested for the virus, the Acting CMO explained that health care workers had been tested where there was suspicion that they may have contracted the virus. However, he went on to say that there was currently no evidence of community spread.
“We certainly do not have a situation where we are picking up cases in our clinics and in our hospitals. So, we are not at a stage where we have a reason to test health care workers and we are simply not going to get much value out of testing somebody who is asymptomatic,” Dr. Best explained.
He intimated that this could change if the country reached the stage where there were widespread cases of COVID-19.
As for the parameters of being quarantined at home, the Acting CMO reminded those individuals that they could only venture as far as their “gardens or patios”.
He also recommended that these persons practise physical distancing if there were other family members in the household.
Dr. Best revealed that in addition to tending to the physical health of the 26 patients in isolation, health officials were also catering to their mental and emotional well-being.
“So when necessary, we have had to call mental health services to provide mental health counselling for persons who are depressed or suffering from mental ill health. That is something we have paid close attention to, and if the situation is ever warranted in terms of their families, we will do what we can, certainly from the point of view of the Ministry of Health and Wellness,” he stated.
He also cautioned the younger members of the population about being reckless in their actions, concerning COVID-19.
The CMO said that while the fatality rates among young people were lower than those of persons over age 60 or 70, younger persons were not immune to the virus.
Dr. Best reminded this segment of society that while their symptoms might be mild, they could pass on the virus to their parents or grandparents.
“So, we don’t want them to be partying; we don’t want them to be not understanding the importance of physical distancing …. You have to pay attention and heed the warnings that we, in the Ministry of Health and Wellness and the wider Government of Barbados, are advising to everyone,” he emphasized.