Minister of Health and Wellness, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Bostic, has tested negative for COVID-19 after being advised to self-isolate last weekend.
Minister Bostic was part of the welcoming delegation at the Grantley Adams International Airport on Thursday for the arrival of 95 Ghanaian nurses into the island. Nine of them tested positive for the viral illness.
As a consequence, the Acting Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Kenneth George, advised that all persons who participated in that event remain at home for five to seven days, and take a COVID-19 test.
Joining a press conference via Zoom from his home this morning, the Health and Wellness Minister shared that he had been tested for COVID-19 on Tuesday, and the results were what he expected them to be since he had adhered to all the protocols being enforced by his Ministry in relation to interacting in public spaces.
Meanwhile, Manager of the Isolation Facility at Harrison Point, Dr. Corey Forde, gave an update on the health of the Ghanaian nurses, both in isolation and in quarantine.
He reported that, of the nine who were admitted to the isolation facility, eight of them were doing “quite well and were in good spirits”.
One, he said, was placed within the intensive care unit for observation over the last 24 hours, but this morning was also doing quite well and will be discharged back to secondary isolation, where he will continue to be monitored.
In relation to the other 86 nurses in quarantine, Dr. Forde shared that, except for one who got ill, but was doing well now, the others “are all fine at this point”.
Director of Medical Services at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH), Dr. Clyde Cave, told the press conference that the arrival of the Ghanaian nurses was in response to a need for nurses in Barbados.
“It’s no secret that for some time we have needed additional nurses, not just numbers of nurses, but specialist, skilled nurses and we have had the opportunity to recruit some of those nurses from Ghana,” he said.
Dr. Cave stated that once the nurses completed their isolation and quarantine stints and were cleared for duty, the QEH looked forward to welcoming them to the hospital because there was a lot of work to be done.
Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley condemned “the fake news” that circulated in Barbados last weekend, in respect of the nurses, describing it as one of the unfortunate moments for her in the whole exercise.
“Even before the Ghanaians landed, there was a lot of fake news and a lot of talk and I wondered to myself if they were coming from Eastern Europe, would we have the same commentary.
“I hope that Barbadians accept that we are dealing with people who have come to help us …. There has been a hiccup for nine of them, but I would ask both doctors here, who are far better qualified than I am to be able to speak to the fact that, not just these nurses, but nurses and doctors the world over, have in some instances been exposed to the virus and have returned to the frontline in order to be able to save more lives.”