COVID-19 update and press conference – May 6, 2021. (PMO)

One student at a secondary school in Barbados has tested positive for COVID-19, as the island returned to face-to-face classes this week.

Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr. Kenneth George, during a COVID-19 update and press conference this evening at Ilaro Court, revealed that two of the island’s public schools had been impacted by the virus, as a result of an emerging extended family cluster.

“The Ministry of Health and Wellness is investigating exposures at two schools, the St. George Primary School and the Princess Margaret Secondary School. These cases or the cases in these schools have been linked to two extended family clusters. The student at St. George Primary School was tested and the first test was negative. We are waiting to perform a second test as early as the eighth of May. 

“The students at that school are doing … online schooling, and the Ministry of Education has been very cooperative in sharing the list of students and teachers at that school.  If needs be, we will certainly institute much more contact tracing at this point,” Dr. George stated.

He continued: “With respect to Princess Margaret [Secondary] School, there was a single exposure involving a student from Five Upper One and Five Upper Two, and based on that information, we have identified a total of 58 contacts.  Two of those contacts are what we describe as very close contacts and those persons are in quarantine, and they will be tested today.

“The plan is to test all students in the Upper One and Upper Two classes. And in addition to that, a list of teachers was provided by the school, so that we have a complete picture as to where we are at the school. These cases are linked as I said, there are two extended families which we continue to look at, and in that family group we have identified several persons who have been positive and those persons are being managed at Harrison Point,” the CMO reported.

Minister of Health and Wellness, Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic, speaking on the school situation stressed: “We do not have a problem at the two schools, even though we have concerns, one positive case, and the fact that this is really a family cluster that we’re dealing with, which has spread its wings into these two schools.”

 He added that all the necessary public health measures were being applied to the situation. Minister Bostic reminded the public that there was a similar situation last year with a family cluster that impacted the Ellerslie Secondary School.

“And based on the experience that we would have had in dealing with the situation at Ellerslie, we are applying that experience to this situation, and we are confident that we will be able to deal effectively with the situation at the schools,” he said.

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