Health officials have taken control of the home of an elderly man who has been designated as an isolation facility after 31 patients tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19).
This was among the issues addressed by Minister of Health and Wellness Jeffrey Bostic today as he spoke during a live press conference on the management of COVID-19. Bostic said as COVID-19 spreads in the community, it is not too late to reverse this trend.
Prime Minister Mia Amor Motley, Chair of the Cabinet Subcommittee on COVID-19 Senator Dr. Jerome Walcott, Infectious Diseases Specialist and Chief of Isolation, Dr. Corey Forde, and Senior Health Officer Dr. Anton Best also attended the press conference.
During his speech, Bostic provided updated figures for COVID-19. He said that although the public is more familiar with a daily dashboard, the figures he gave today covered from 3 to 14 February.
During this period, the Best dos Santos Public Health Laboratory took 8,395 samples and of this number 6,560 tests were completed.
Of these tests, 628 cases of COVID-19 were recorded. Using the Shape Application, which provides real-time information, out of 567 positive cases of the virus, 401 are attributed to contact tracking and these are primary contacts. This means that 70 percent of cases have resulted from tracking contacts.
He said while the figures could be surprising, they were an accumulation of samples over a period of time and results were given when the samples were tested.
With yesterday’s figures, for example, 1,222 tests were completed, with 207 positive cases of the virus, however of those samples, 111 were collected from the first week of February.
Furthermore, Bostic said the ministry had worked in several hotspots and figures for these followed.
At the Geriatric Hospital, which started with a single case, there are now five more positive cases, two kitchen staff members and three nurses. All were asymptomatic. All patients were tested, more than once, and were negative for coronavirus. The ministry is still awaiting results for 20 staff members, but all other staff have been negative.
Bostic said the kitchen was completely cleaned and would be back to work from today. He expressed gratitude to the staff for staying on the course.
A shelter for the homeless that was cause for concern recorded a positive case of viral illness.
We moved into that situation quickly, we appointed one of our public health doctors to be responsible for that response. . ., Tha Bostic.
All staff and all shelter residents were tested negative on the first and second PCR tests and rapid antigen tests.
The Minister also provided information on the two nursing homes that were affected by COVID-19.
At Home One, which is located in St Michael, there were five positive cases of coronavirus. These results were obtained through rapid antigen tests and two additional positive cases were recorded after PCR tests were administered. All are asymptomatic.
Five of the positive cases were sent to the Blackman and Gollop quarantine center, then to the isolation facility at Harrison Point. The other two also in isolation. Bostic said there were no other issues related to the house and the ministry is providing assistance to management.
At Home 2, located in the East of the island, 31 patients tested positive for COVID-19. Three staff members tested positive for PCR tests, three tested positive for rapid antigen tests and are awaiting results for PCR tests.
Bostic said dealing with this house was more challenging because of its appearance and size and required the help of Dr. Fordes. Therefore, this house is designated as an isolation environment because most of the people there are COVID positive.
The Ministry has therefore taken control of the home for this period to help them get out of the situation using the resources of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) and the Ministry of Health towards public health officials and health medical officers.
Infection control nurse QEH has done some serious work to sanctify the site and reorganize things to operate under safer conditions, Bostic said. This process is being managed by Forde.
More resources are also allocated to find traces of contacts.
Explaining why the testing was delayed, the minister reminded the Barbadians that this is not the only country that is experiencing difficulties in obtaining equipment and supplies.
He repeated the explanation that the laboratory had finished the reagent for automatic testing. Bostic also gave a number of scenarios where the Government had tried unsuccessfully to enter the reagent. He also reiterated the point that supplies had been ordered since last year.
Both Bostic and Mottley provided assurance, however, that testing would resume as the Government was able to obtain some reagents from Guyana. (KG)
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