Press conference re: COVID-19 and national cleanup updates – April 16, 2021. (PMO)

Minister of Health and Wellness, Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic, has appealed to persons associated with the COVID-19 church cluster in the north of the island to “come forward” and get tested for the virus.

He urged the individuals to go to the Wildey Gymnasium testing site or one of the health care facilities to be tested, warning that if they delayed and do have symptoms, it could be detrimental to their health.

Lt. Col. Bostic made the plea today during a press conference to give an update on COVID-19 and the national clean-up efforts, following the eruption of the La Soufriere volcano.  

He said nine of the 12 positive cases recorded on Thursday were directly and indirectly related to the church cluster in the north.  

He explained that two families comprising four and three members each, were directly connected to the religious institution.  

“Then, there was a family of two indirectly connected because they were connected directly to one of the other institutions that have been impacted by this church cluster.

“Although these statistics are low, my concern and…[that] of the Ministry, is the fact that they are all related to this church cluster…. This right now is occupying the attention, more than anything else, of the Ministry of Health and Wellness in our fight against the COVID pandemic,” he stated.

Lt. Col. Bostic stressed that his Ministry was closely investigating and monitoring the situation, and gave the assurance that whatever was necessary would be done.

Minister of Health and Wellness, Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic. (FP)

“I can assure you that the leadership of the church is in quarantine at a government quarantine facility, and as an investigation by the public health team continues, then we will be in a better position to see exactly what we are dealing with, but nothing at this stage is ruled out.

“But our focus at the moment is really to try to get these people and all persons to come in to be tested because the aim is to contain the spread of the virus and try to dig a hole, so to speak, in this cluster because we don’t want this cluster to get out of hand,” he insisted.

The Minister disclosed that a Senior Medical Officer of Health is in charge of managing this process and daily reports were being submitted so the Ministry could keep on top of the situation.

Reminding residents that the fight against the virus is an “all of society approach”, he said everyone must work with the Ministry to contain its spread in the country.

“So I appeal to all Barbadians in general, but particularly to all persons associated with the church in the north, that cluster, if you have not yet been contacted by Ministry of Health officials, it is because…we have not been told about your exposure, and…in cases where we have been told, we have not been able to find you, because I would have to say that you are hiding….

“We want to find you because if you remain in hiding, if you remain knowing that you have symptoms and you present too late, it could be detrimental to your health,” he warned.

sharon.austingill-moore@barbados.gov.bb

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