Press conference hosted by Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley – March 31, 2021. (PMO)

As Barbados’ COVID-19 positivity rate continues to decline, Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley is urging Barbadians not to sacrifice the tremendous gains made in managing the virus.

Ms. Mottley has encouraged the population to stay focused and continue adhering to the protocols, as she opined that the level of compliance was greater than when the journey started.

She made the comments tonight during a press conference, which dealt with a number of issues, including vaccines and the new minimum wage.

The Prime Minister told her audience: “We said that we did not want more than five per cent positivity among all COVID-19 tests carried out in the previous seven days. Positivity has generally been below five per cent, with the exception of one day, I think, for the majority of the last two weeks. Today, I think it is just over two per cent; yesterday it was at 1.6 per cent and in fact, most of the days it’s been under two per cent per cent….

“So, my friends, we are not yet where we want to be, but we are way down the road in getting there. And, all I ask this country to do is for us to remember that at this point in time, do not sacrifice the tremendous gains that we have made.”

She explained that several measurements were being used so Government could track what was happening in relation to the virus and the progress being made. She said that ideally, there should not have been more than 25 new COVID cases per 100,000, over the last two-week period.

Prime Minister Mia Mottley said Barbados’ COVID-19 positivity rate continued to decline but urged Barbadians to continue adhering to the protocols (Stock Photo)

“What has been our reality? In the last two weeks we have had 66.8 cases per 100,000, which is down from the previous two weeks when it was 113. Now, you would appreciate that that is a significant reduction from a month ago. Similarly, we said that we wanted a stable or decreasing trend of new cases compared to the previous 14 days. You have seen that we have generally been decreasing. We said that we wanted a case fatality rate that is stable or decreasing compared to the previous 14-day period; we have it stable,” she pointed out.

However, Ms. Mottley said there was a need to increase the number of people being tested for the virus. She noted that people were currently being tested because they were primary and secondary contacts of infected cases.

“We said that we would do more than 1, 200 tests per 100,000 inhabitants in the previous seven days and we have done approximately 1, 200 tests per 100,000 inhabitants in the last week…. I am anxious for us to continue to increase the numbers, but the reality is that we also need more persons coming forward, willing to volunteer to be tested if we are going to get those numbers back up,” she indicated.

The Prime Minister said officials wanted the occupancy rate in the ICU isolation to be less than 75 per cent to ensure the health care system was not overtaken.

She reported there was an 18 per cent occupancy in the ICU at Harrisons Point and 43 per cent in the High Dependency Unit. Meanwhile, Ms. Mottley said that 63, 715 people had already been vaccinated.

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