Next week’s removal of the curfew and associated changes to the Directive have been based on the scientific evidence provided by health experts within the Ministry of Health and Wellness.
This was underscored today by Minister of Health and Wellness, Ian Gooding-Edghill, as he addressed a COVID-19 update and press conference at Ilaro Court.
Minister Gooding-Edghill, who lamented that the country had lost 291 lives (as at February 11), stressed this represented “a case fatality ratio of 0.9 per cent, which remains lower than the global average of 2.2 per cent but the range is as low as 0.5 per cent and as high as 7.6 per cent”.
Noting that the Ministry believed the Omicron outbreak had peaked here, he said: “The results of these trends indicate that the case count and case incidents are falling. The RE, the ability of the virus to spread has fallen to 0.94; the positivity rate which is based on tests done, in other words the number of positive cases divided by the number of tests done, has reflected a slowing of the positivity rate based on the rolling average.
“The doubling time, which measures the growth rate, continues to increase; the longer the doubling time, it is indicative of the slowing of the growth of the outbreak. It is important to bear in mind that 75 per cent of all persons tested on a daily basis do not have COVID-19.”
It was further noted that as of February 11, there were 6,980 persons in home isolation, down from a high of 11,000.
Barbadians were reminded that with the outbreak of Omicron, the Ministry of Health and Wellness had recognised that, while it was still highly infectious, it was far less dangerous when compared to the previous strains of Delta and Alpha. It had also posed less strain on the health care system, which was of chief concern.
“The number of negative outcomes with the Omicron variant has been considerably less, compared to other strains. These scientific indicators have informed the recommendations to vary the next Directives which expires on Monday [February 14],” the Health Minister added. The new Directive, when introduced, will be for two weeks.
Meanwhile, reiterating that the backlog of patient discharge certificates had been cleared, Mr. Gooding-Edghill said this remained current and the automated systems were “up and running”.
However, he encouraged Barbadians and visitors to ensure their email addresses were accurate to ensure timely receipt of their discharge certificate.
Barbadians were reminded that the island’s relative success in managing the pandemic was due to Government’s “swift, yet decisive action in implementing preventative and protective strategies such as testing, social distancing, mask mandates and vaccinations”.
The Health Minister also thanked frontline workers for continually going beyond the call of duty for patient care and public health protection, and commended citizens for make the “life-changing and nation improving benefits possible”.
He acknowledged: “We could not have reached this historic milestone without the overall and consistent cooperation and support of the public at large in following the lead and expertise of the dedicated professionals in the health sector and supporting agencies.”