Even though a third man has died from the dreaded COVID-19 disease in as many days, health authorities are assuring the public that they are on top of the situation.
Word of this came from the Head of Infectious Diseases at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Dr Corey Forde, moments after he announced that a 95-year-old man had passed away at 3’clock this morning from the virus.
He said the latest victim had been “presented quite late and had been extremely unwell”.
On Sunday an 81-year-old man was the island’s first victim, while a 74-year-old male died yesterday.
And despite the number of cases on the island now rising to 63 with three other persons having tested positive for the virus, Dr Forde said neither of those figures was unexpected.
He explained that data had shown that elderly persons, particularly those with health challenges, stood a higher risk of dying from COVID-19.
Dr Forde said all three of the men who had died from the virus had underlying health issues.
Furthermore, he said thus far there had still been no evidence of community transmission.
“If we look at the data internationally it is quite clear. Persons who are above the age of 60 and certainly above the age of 65 are at increased risk of death when they contract COVID-19. This is then complicated by the fact that we know that people with hypertension, people with diabetes, people with cancers, as one of these patients would have had, these individuals are at increased risk of getting complications and death associated with COVID-19.
“If we then look at the other end of the spectrum, we know from all the international data both from China and Italy, that persons of the younger age group, certainly below the age of 19, that the sort of complications we are seeing are much less. It doesn’t mean that they’ve not been deaths identified in that area, but certainly, the percentage of individuals in that age group has been quite lessened and that’s really followed in our trend. So in the current trend of things we are falling quite well within the international parameters,” Dr Forde outlined.
He said in an effort to minimize the possibility of elderly people contracting COVID-19, Government had been proactive in implementing certain measures.
This he said, began with protecting those elderly persons at the Geriatric Hospital from the increased risk .
“Because we knew this, I think a few key things have been put in place to try to decrease the risk of the impact on the elderly population, even before we identified the first case in Barbados.
“…We know that in the US, Canada and Italy for example, the surge in cases often started within these particular facilities and we put measures in place from quite early anticipating we could have those effects.”
In presenting other statistics, Dr Forde said three persons had been located through contact tracing.
He disclosed that they were currently 53 people in isolation, with 17 at the Paragon base; three at the Enmore facility who were ventilated; 29 patients at Blackman and Gollop, with four others, including a seven-year-old and his father in self-isolation at their homes.
The Ministry of Health and Wellness identified the three new cases as Barbadians – a 28-year-old man and a 60-year-old woman, who returned from overseas, and a 33-year-old woman, who is the wife of a known case.
Dr Forde said the three people at Enmore – two women aged 78 and 56 and a 53-year-old male – were all critically ill.
On a more positive note, he said two persons who had previously tested positive for COVID-19 and were placed in isolation had now returned negative tests.
Dr Forde said once they returned a second negative test they would be allowed to return home.
COVID-19 Czar Richard Carter disclosed that as of April 5, Barbados had conducted 602 laboratory tests.
He said the proportion of tests “per thousand of the population” was significantly higher than many other Caribbean and international countries.
“This gives us a measure of comfort in relation to our identifying cases that are out there in the community because the more we test, the more likely we are to be able to identify cases that may be out there which may be evading the other detection methods because their symptoms are mild,” Carter said.
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