Press conference featuring Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley and Minister of Health and Wellness, Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic – October 11, 2021. (PMO)

The Ministry of Health and Wellness has started retrofitting Harrison Point, in St Lucy, as well as at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in an effort to ready medical facilities for additional COVID-19 patients.

This was disclosed by Minister of Health and Wellness, Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic at a press briefing held on Monday at Ilaro Court to give an update to the public on national efforts to combat COVID-19.

Minister Bostic said: “So that where the average occupancy level at the isolation facilities across the board would be about 56 per cent, at this point in time, we’re seeing about 74 per cent in primary and secondary isolation… And, so in anticipation of what this could lead to going down the road, we’ve taken the decision, and the work is in progress, to refit the tertiary installation facility at some point. So that that facility can become more of a secondary facility with the installation of oxygen and so on.

“And this is in keeping with what we are seeing on the ground and we’re fighting an enemy that is evolving, that is changing, that is doing things differently. So we have to readjust our strategies and our tactics to be able to remain in this fight. And that is something that we have been doing.”

The Health Minister added that another “game changer” was the fact that more persons were getting sick as a result of the Delta variant and this could be seen by the number of persons in the isolation facilities, who have tested positive when assessed, and also at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Accident and Emergency Department and the extension established there to be able to deal with persons with respiratory problems.

He pointed out that some of the strategies the government was utilising included introducing home isolation, which had to implemented to fight the new Delta strain of Covid-19.

In addition, he admitted that there were some other challenges with transporting persons to Harrison Point, noting, “we’ve been experiencing some delays in terms of getting persons out of home isolation who we want to get to facilities for assessment, but we have improved significantly over the last couple days, even though we still have a way to go”.

In terms of possible solutions, he said, “We have also established partnerships with some of the private ambulance, acute care centres that have ambulances, along with, obviously, the Emergency Ambulance Department, [and] the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. So, all of these things put together would give us greater capacity to move a bit faster with the home isolation process. And, we expect that within a few days, we will be able to get this to the point where it is much more manageable. And, so that persons who are at home that we want to get to we will [be able to] get out in time.”

fabian.belgrave@barbados.gov.bb

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