COVID-19 update and press conference – May 3, 2021. (PMO)

Barbados recorded its 45th COVID-19 death today. It comes almost a month after the last reported casualty on Tuesday, April 6.

Minister of Health and Wellness, Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic, delivered the sombre news during a televised press conference this evening to bring the country up-to-date on the COVID-19 situation.

The deceased is a 63-year-old male who was admitted to the Harrison Point Isolation Facility on April 23. He spent six days on a ventilator. The Health Minister expressed his condolences to the man’s family and friends.

Additionally, Lt. Col. Bostic explained that the 15 new positive cases reported in today’s COVID-19 dashboard, which reflect cases from Sunday, May 2, included three persons from the Psychiatric Hospital – two male inpatients and one male outpatient – where there is a cluster.

Just last week, he informed the country that 14 patients and one staff member on a ward at the facility had tested positive for the virus.

He said since then, health officials had mounted an aggressive contact tracing and testing campaign to contain the situation.

“The situation at the Psychiatric Hospital internally, is under some measure of control and I say that because we still have to await the second tests but from the first tests we are satisfied that we have been able to do a level of containment that is necessary. What we are working on right now is to be able to complete that process and tighten up on the loose ends in terms of outpatients,” Minister Bostic reported.

He added: “We have… established an isolation centre on the compound of the hospital which is being managed by the Queen Elizabeth Hospital’s isolation facilities team.”

Minister of Health and Wellness, Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic, speaking at today’s COVID-19 update at Ilaro Court. (PMO)

The positive cases reported on today’s dashboard also include a family of eight from a St. Michael community. The Health Minister said one member of the family had previously tested positive for COVID-19. 

Stating that this development was of “great concern to the team”, he pointed out that contact tracing into that case was ongoing. He, however, noted that he could not, at this time, label that situation a cluster or say whether or not it was linked to the Psychiatric Hospital, as it was still being investigated

Lt. Col. Bostic said that while Sunday’s reported COVID-19 results produced a positivity average of just under five per cent; the average for the last seven days was 1.5 per cent.

He explained that Barbados was inching closer to its target of 25 [COVID-19] cases per 100,000 people in the population, adding that as of May 1, the country averaged 31.3 cases per 100,000 over a 14-day period.

He tempered his statement by saying that the challenge would come in sustaining this average once it was achieved.

“We are improving in our situation but we still have COVID in Barbados. I believe one of the things beyond everything is that… we must strive very hard to reach herd immunity in terms of having the percentage of our population vaccinated that would allow us to do this. Once we are able to do that, combined with all of our other efforts, this will allow us to return to a state of normalcy …. and to sustain it,” he emphasised.

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