Persons who have been tested for COVID-19 must quarantine at home until they receive their results.
This appeal has come from Manager of Quarantine Facilities for COVID-19, Alvin Hart, who said some Barbadians were still not doing what they should to help break the chain of COVID-19 infections.
In an interview with the Barbados Government Information Service, Mr. Hart disclosed that health authorities were picking up entire families with COVID-19, in some cases, because persons who were awaiting test results were still mixing with family members instead of quarantining.
He added that some of these persons were also shopping at supermarkets and going about their usual routines while they waited to find out if they were COVID-19 positive or negative.
Stating that over 90 per cent of the COVID-19 cases recorded daily were Barbadians, he cautioned members of the public to take the rules and directives seriously.
The requirement for persons waiting on results, he pointed out, was that they quarantine at home, or at a designated quarantine facility until their results were ready.
“…I’ve heard about cases of people saying: ‘Well when I finish this test I am going to visit my aunt, my sister, or I’m going to look for my mother’. You are now exposing all of those persons to COVID-19.”Manager of Quarantine Facilities for COVID-19, Alvin Hart
If quarantining at home, individuals should isolate themselves in a room and limit contact with other members of the household; practise proper hand hygiene; wear masks and disinfect items and surfaces with which they come into contact.
“All of these components, we need to work all of them together. If one cog in this wheel or one link in this chain is weak, we will continue to have challenges. And one of the challenges we are having is when persons get tested, they don’t go home and quarantine until they get back results,” he explained.
Mr. Hart advised Barbadians who could not quarantine at home for any reason, to disclose this to the health care professionals at the polyclinics, or wherever they are tested for COVID-19.
He said persons could instead quarantine at one of the government facilities, such as Paragon, or at one of the designated hotels. Another option, he suggested, would be for members of households to lodge somewhere else until the results came back.
“What we are seeing in this current outbreak and at this phase is that we are not breaking the chain of infection after persons are tested. What is happening is that after persons are tested, they’re going home, but they’re going to stop by the shop; they’re going into the supermarkets.
“Some people get tested and don’t say anything. They know they’ve been exposed and they go back to work and they go on the block. And some of these villages or areas are so densely populated…. I’ve heard about cases of people saying: ‘Well when I finish this test I am going to visit my aunt, my sister, or I’m going to look for my mother’. You are now exposing all of those persons to COVID-19,” Mr. Hart lamented.
He warned persons who are primary contacts – those who come into direct contact with a COVID-19 positive individual – to get tested immediately and self-isolate.
While he noted that secondary and tertiary contacts were at less risk of contracting the virus, he said the risk was still very much there, and they, too, should take precautions.
“Too many families are going to the Harrison Point [Isolation Facility] together. Over the next couple of weeks, we would like to see that broken.”Manager of Quarantine Facilities for COVID-19, Alvin Hart
The Quarantine Facilities Manager said another problem health authorities faced was dishonesty from some persons who were being tested for COVID-19.
“What I encourage persons to do, is from the time you have that test you must be honest. And we’ve been having serious challenges with that. People give their addresses and telephone numbers but when you call them either they don’t answer the phone, or the number is wrong, or when we go into their district they run; we can’t find them,” he revealed.
Mr. Hart maintained that the only way Barbados would be successful in the fight against COVID-19 was for every single person in each household to play their part by stepping up infection control practices within their homes.
“Too many families are going to the Harrison Point [Isolation Facility] together. Over the next couple of weeks, we would like to see that broken,” he said.