The Ministry of Health and Wellness is bolstering its capacity to manage the recent spike in COVID-19 cases linked to the highly contagious Delta variant.
This includes the deployment of additional nurses to the Harrison Point Isolation Facility, a move welcomed by Nursing Officer, Glendora Seale, who has been stationed there since it was commissioned in March 2020.
Ms. Seale, who was speaking via Zoom at last evening’s press conference to update the country on Government’s COVID-19 response, said it was a remarkable and insightful move, given the serious nature of the situation.
“Recently, in terms of support systems, we’re utilizing the resources of additional nurses. These nurses are not only Bajan nurses. These nurses are Ghanaians and Cubans to work hand in hand with our local counterparts.”
She also shared a firsthand experience, pointing out that after Barbados recorded its first case of the viral illness on March 16, 2020, “those first couple months, as I remember, were very rough months because it was then that we saw our most ill patients”. According to her, most of them were young people “who were having very severe symptoms”.
Nurse Seale went on to highlight that over time, they have seen an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in persons under the age of 60, at the facility. “A large percentage of them are symptomatic and a good set of them end up in the intensive care setting here at Harrison Point, where we give support to patients who have not only comorbidities, but they have some severe symptoms of COVID-19 and need advanced medical support.
“Right now at Harrison Point, we have a number of patients who are in the intensive care setting, which is the Primary Isolation. The average age of those persons is about 43 years old. Two of them are critically ill, and all of the others, the majority of them are all on some level of oxygen support. In terms of whether they’re vaccinated or not, I won’t be able to share that data with you,” she explained.
With regards to the nursing staff at Harrison Point, Ms. Seale said that to date “none of them have ever received a positive COVID test”. She further noted that “the percentage of nurses who are vaccinated range from 98 to 98.5 per cent”.
“We continue to soldier on. We are highly motivated and dedicated to looking after the COVID-19 patients. And I want the public to know out there that the vaccination is not the cure for all for COVID-19. It is one in the armory that we can use to navigate the negative outcomes of the [virus]. According to the science, those who are vaccinated most of the time in the cases provided they would not have had as a severe outcome as thouse who were unvaccinated.”
And it was against this background that the public health nurse implored Barbadians to continue to following the established public health protocols, whether or not they had been inoculated.