Minister of Health Lt. Col. Jeffrey Bostic has reported that 39 of the 79 confirmed COVID-19 cases were identified through a rigorous contact tracing programme.
Throughout his speech in the House of Assembly as it moved to amend the Public Health State of Emergency Proclamation, Lt. Col. Bostic repeatedly stated the importance of the exercise in containing the spread of the virus, which has claimed six lives in Barbados.
He said: “The extension is not to stop people from enjoying the normal way of life it is a necessity. It is through the contact tracing that 39 of the current confirmed cases [were discovered].
“It is vitally important, the public health imperative in terms of what is happening now is to give opportunity to make contact with as many people as possible who through the contact tracing programme would have come into contact with a confirmed case.
Lt. Col. Bostic told fellow lawmakers that the process, which requires a large workforce, could be tedious.
He said; “This is a very, very vital part of this exercise. And just to simplify, and how complex and how complicated it is if you take a confirm case as the trunk of a tree those contacts that we find become the branches but if one of those branches become infected that creates other branches and spreads and it makes it even more difficult to be able to cover and to trace and to adequately service all of those contacts.
The minister also praised those workers directly involved in the contact tracing programme who he said were working tirelessly.
He said: “I have people who are involved in contact tracing and they are doing it from early in the morning until late in the evening. They get very little time to spend with their family and loved ones.
Lt. Col. Bostic pleaded with Barbadians to comply with the public health restrictions and to come forward if they have been in contact with a known COVID-19 patient.
The health minister said: “The fight for us is to not reach the stage where this thing becomes unmanageable. That is why we have to do it now and we have to take these measures now.