COVID-19 update and press conference – February 15, 2021. (PMO)

The Ministry of Health and Wellness has been monitoring a number of COVID-19 “hotspots” at elderly care facilities.

Health Minister Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic stated this today at the COVID-19 update, and cited the Geriatric Hospital and two senior citizens’ homes – one in St. Michael and the other on the eastern side of the island – as the facilities which public health officials have focused their attention over the last “10 days”.

He said since the last report of one positive case at the Geriatric Hospital a few weeks ago, there have been five additional cases at that institution – two kitchen staff members and three nurses. They were all asymptomatic.

The silver lining, he explained, was that after conducting several tests all of the patients there had returned negative test results for COVID-19.

“And the remainder of the staff except for 20, who we are awaiting tests for, they are all negative. So that the kitchen which was stood down, sanitised and everything is going to be back in operation from today, and I give my sincerest appreciation to the entire staff at the Geriatric Hospital for staying the course. So, we are comfortable with where we are with the Geriatric Hospital at this time,” he stated.

Turning his attention to the two senior homes, Mr. Bostic said ‘Senior Citizens Home Number One’, in St. Michael, had five positive cases using the antigen rapid test. However, he added that when public health officials tested everyone using the PCR tests, there were two additional positive cases.  

Five of the persons were taken to the Blackman and Gollop Isolation Centre, while the other two were sent to the Harrison Point Isolation Facility. The Health Minister said ministry officials were providing assistance to the home to help them manage the situation.

Health Minister Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic said his ministry has been monitoring a number of COVID-19 “hotspots” at elderly care facilities. (PMO)

As for the other home located on the east of the island, ‘Senior Citizens Home Number Two’, Mr. Bostic acknowledged that this posed a challenge for health officials, since it was a larger institution where there were 31 positive patients.

He pointed out that three staff members also tested positive using PCR tests, while another three were diagnosed as positive using antigen rapid tests, and were awaiting results from their PCR tests.

Due to number of positive cases and the size of the home, the Minister said it would be used as an isolation facility for those patients under the supervision of Dr. Corey Forde, the Head of Isolation Facilities.  

He noted that resources from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and the Ministry of Health’s public health team would be utilised to manage the situation there.

Speaking to the matter of the one positive COVID-19 case discovered at a homeless shelter, Mr. Bostic said all of the staff and residents tested negative on their second PCR tests, and should have already been released from quarantine.

melissa.rollock@barbados.gov.bb

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