COVID-19 update and press conference – March 1, 2021. (PMO)

Two officers at the COVID-19 Monitoring Unit have tested positive for the virus.

Head of the COVID-19 Unit, Ronald Chapman, shared this information today, in response to a question from the media, during the COVID-19 update and press conference, at the Ministry of Health and Wellness.

Mr. Chapman said: “Two of my officers…have tested positive for COVID, and because of that, there are one or two other officers who would have been in close proximity to them, who are being tested and who would go into quarantine.

“Now, those officers would not be considered contacts because they all wore masks consistently during their duties and interactions. But, out of an abundance of caution, in terms of giving them peace of mind…. So, it is just to let you know that even the COVID-19 Monitoring Unit is vulnerable to this disease….”

When questioned further, he said it appeared the officers had been infected off the job.

Mr. Chapman stated that the majority of citizens were cooperating with officials engaging in contact tracing and sharing the relevant information.

“Now this is a painstaking process, and the value of this process lies within the integrity of the person who is answering the question. So, if someone is honest with us, then we are able then to get in contact with other people who they have been associating with, and in that way, we can get a hold of the disease quickly.

“If persons are less than honest with us, then it makes it a little harder to be able to track down the other people that are involved…. …For the most part, we have been getting good information and I want to thank the Barbadian public for that, …persons have been very upfront with us,” he stated.

However, Mr. Chapman noted that from time to time, officials have been given wrong addresses or cell phone numbers, or the tested persons have no credit on their phones and cannot accept landline calls.

“And then there are some persons who know that they would have been associated with someone else, but for whatever reason, they don’t want to say, and …that can really hinder the process,” he explained.

Mr. Chapman noted that some businesses and individuals were taking actions that were not necessary because they did not fully understand how the disease was spread.

He reminded citizens that a primary contact of an infected person would be one who had interacted with that individual for more than 15 minutes, without a mask and there was less than six feet physical distancing.

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