Within the space of three days, two men, both in their 80s, died after testing positive for COVID-19, taking the total number of deaths from the illness in Barbados up to nine.
Minister of Health and Wellness Jeffrey Bostic announced the new death and confirmed the other which was under investigation, during Tuesday’s COVID-19 management media conference and address to the nation from Ilaro Court.
The last death by COVID-19 was recorded at the end of Apr
“A policy decision has been taken that as long as a person who passes away and had respiratory symptoms and tests positive, that we’ve taken the decision that we would count that as a COVID death,” Bostic said.
The ninth death was an 83-year-old man who presented at the Accident and Emergency (A&E) Department at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) on Monday. The man was also treated at the hospital on December 12, 2020 and sent home. Hours before he died, the family attempted to have him admitted to a nursing home. Bostic said contact tracing commended, but cautioned there was “no need for alarm and panic” because the exposure at the nursing home was limited, about 90 minutes.
The 84-year-old man who passed away on Sunday night after attending the QEH, was ruled the eighth death after his test subsequently came back positive. Bostic said from that case, 17 tests were done for primary contacts, with 16 negative. The lone positive was linked to the West Coast cluster.
The Minister of Health said whether a vaccine was available or the new variant was in Barbados, it was important that Barbadians and residents followed the protocols to prevent spread of the viral illness.
“The evidence is clear that if we wear a mask when interacting with persons or in a public spaces, that that significantly reduces the chance of getting COVID. And the mask is there to protect you from someone who may have COVID. You need to treat every person as though they have COVID and so follow the guidelines and the protocols that have been set out by the Ministry of Health and Wellness,” Bostic said.
To date, the Best-dos Santos Public Health Laboratory conducted 93 070 tests, resulting in 1 156 positive cases. In January alone, there were 758 positive cases from 22 815 tests. Bostic previously reported 5 850 tests with 120 positive cases. He said of note, over the past three days, there were 15 positive cases from 1 556 tests.
Meanwhile infectious disease specialist and manager of isolation facilities, Dr Corey Forde, said the patients in isolation at Blackman and Gollop Primary School, Her Majesty’s Prison Dodds and secondary and tertiary care at Harrison’s Point in St Lucy were all doing well.
There are nine people in primary care at Harrison’s Point, comprising seven Barbadians and one person each from Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana. The patients range from age 41 to 63, including three males and six females.
Five are on oxygen and two on ventilators. One of the more critical cases is a 45-year-old woman from Trinidad and Tobago who is on dialysis and had a transplant in 2020. The other is a 40-year-old Barbadian woman who has hypertension and diabetes.
Forde credited the doctors and staff at the facility for the excellent work in helping patients recover. He also reiterated the message of following the protocols.
In light of the two positive cases at the QEH, director of medical services, Dr Clyde Cave outlined the process for visiting the facility. He told members of the public to call the help desk first for advice. They should visit the tent for triage and fill out the questionnaire. Cave urged people to be truthful when filling out the questionnaire because those answers determined whether a person was sent to the “suspicious area” for further testing or were admitted to the hospital for further assessment. (SAT)