Public health officials have been making significant strides over the past few days in their efforts to contain the spread of a large cluster of COVID-19 cases linked to a bus crawl on Boxing Day.
Minister of Health and Wellness, Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic, said in an update last night that the dedicated work of staff in the field and those at the Best-dos Santos Public Health Laboratory, who had been working tirelessly to trace and test persons exposed to the virus, was yielding fruit.
“As a result of this collective effort and also the response from Barbadians, we have been able to make significant strides, in terms of the contacting of persons who we have been able to link to some of the cases we’ve had. We’ve also been able to do most of the testing for those contacts with some mopping up work that is still to be done.
“I am happy that as a result of that, we are beginning to see some patterns in what we are doing; we are beginning to see some light at the end of the tunnel; we are beginning to see where we have to be more aggressive. And, given the figures that we have, we believe that there is some hope and that we are wrestling with this in a way that will allow us to deal with it in a couple weeks,” Minister Bostic stated.
He warned, however, that there was still a lot of work to be done, and asked Barbadians to continue to support and cooperate with the Ministry to get past the current situation.
In his contribution, Acting Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Kenneth George, said that with a combined 211 new positive cases recorded between Friday, January 1, and Saturday, January 2, the total number of confirmed cases since February last year now stood at 606.
Additionally, he gave a breakdown of the 275 persons currently in isolation – 122 inmates at HMP Dodds; 121 at the Harrison Point facility; and 32 who are being clinically assessed.
The Acting Chief Medical Officer pointed out that tests at HMP Dodds were completed, and those who tested negative would receive a second test. Those who returned positive results for COVID-19 would be placed in clinical care, he noted.
Dr. George explained that the majority of prison officers who tested positive had been transferred to Harrison Point, while the prisoners remained at HMP Dodds in an isolation facility set up there.
The Acting Chief Medical Officer disclosed that the Ministry and the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association would be working together to ensure that all protocols are followed. He assured that everyone released from quarantine would have undergone two tests – five days apart.
Additionally, he stated that all guests arriving from high risk countries would be required to stay in their rooms for the entirety of the quarantine period before they were allowed out.