Minister of Health and Wellness, Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic, has touted the rigorous contact tracing protocols in place as the best “arsenal” in Government’s ability to fight COVID-19.
The Minister, speaking during a press conference at Ilaro Court and carried on major, broadcast and social media platforms yesterday, said the signs from the contract tracing are encouraging, but cautioned that the country was not yet “out of the woods”.
Lt. Col. Bostic, in explaining the process, said most persons were located through contact tracing, while some were referred not necessarily through contact tracing, but by institutions to the contact centre at Paragon.
“For example, of the 75 confirmed cases, about 31 of those would have resulted from contact tracing, and we had just under 400 persons under quarantine and monitored, as a result of contact tracing.
“We have established a very rigorous contact tracing regime because we recognize that even with a lockdown, and all of the testing that we do, the key is to identify those persons who would have come into contact with confirmed cases; locate them wherever they are; quarantine as necessary, and in some cases, as we have had to do, isolate. The faster we get to these contacts, the better this country would be in being able to fight this virus,” the Minister of Health emphasized.
Minister Bostic added that the signs had been encouraging and gave the assurance that Government was on top of the game. He said officials were still pursuing other contacts and doing other work that was necessary.
When asked to what extent his technical team’s work was based on epidemiological modelling, the Health Minister said the work currently being done is based on what was before them, over the last several weeks.
“As I indicated earlier, when we had a limited number of tests, we had to make decisions as to how those tests were going to be utilized, especially with the international issues, in relation to medical equipment and the exportation of equipment from places that we would normally purchase from. We had to be very prudent in how we manage those resources. So, we would have tested based on people who satisfied a particular criteria.”
The Minister continued: “You recall that we stated several weeks ago that persons coming from hot spots … arriving from countries where there is a prevalence of COVID-19 that those persons would be put in quarantine; we would monitor those persons and based on symptoms presented, then we would isolate and test persons. The positive cases would remain in isolation [while] those negatives were allowed to go. Also, persons were referred from private medical facilities and practitioners who were referred to the testing centre and we were testing persons based on the symptoms presented.”