A day after the Ministry of Health confirmed that Barbados had two confirmed cases of the Coronavirus, the task of contact tracing has begun and so far no new cases have been detected.
However, acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Anton Best has made it clear that it is too early to assume that the chances of community spread are low. Best revealed that so far, his team has identified the persons that the two infected persons came in contact with since entering the country last Friday.
He told reporters this afternoon that none of the persons contacted on the list has shown any symptoms while the test was administered to one of those individuals, with the result coming back negative. He also revealed that the process will continue over the next several days.
“Contact tracing is one of the key strategies used in public health to be able to identify cases. So we have two index cases and contact tracing has begun and it would have started from yesterday and will continue for the next few days. We have already identified the people that we need to approach, we would have asked those persons if they had any symptoms and in addition to that, at least one of those persons, who were identified through contact tracing has been tested and this process will continue for the next few days,” said Best.
Yesterday, Minister of Health and Wellness Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic Informed the nation of the two imported cases, a 48-year-old visitor and a 39-year-old national, both came from the United States on March 13, 2020.
“Both patients were experiencing symptoms of a viral infection and were referred to the team at the Ministry of Health and Wellness for further evaluation. The Best-dos Santos laboratory informed us this morning that the samples taken tested positive. Both patients are being managed for COVID-19 and have been placed in isolation where they will stay until they get better,” Bostic revealed on Tuesday.
This afternoon, Bostic, who shared the podium with Best during a press briefing at Illaro Court, assured Barbadians that his ministry was well-positioned to limit the transmission of any infection.
“I can tell you that we are in a position to limit the amount of transmission because containment is really the strategy going forward,” said Bostic.
The Minister also revealed that since news of the two cases broke, Government has been forced to beef up resources at the hotline, noting that this was a good sign that Barbadians are taking the threat seriously.
“We have increased the number of lines and we are in the process of increasing the number of persons working those lines. The number of calls that we have been receiving on a daily basis has really been very high, which is good because we want to engage with the public. A surprising thing for us is the number of calls from overseas persons who want to visit Barbados and who want to find out what their status would be upon arrival in Barbados as well as the facilities we have here.
“Persons may have to take into consideration that we are dealing with matters that require discussion and that process sometimes can take a bit of time,” he explained.