The staff of the National Assistance Board sent into quarantine when seven workers tested positive for COVID-19 were welcomed back to headquarters today after they emerged with “clean bills of health”.
The staff members tested negative for the viral illness after being placed in 14 days’ quarantine at local hotels, along with the other members of their households.
The seven staff members who tested positive remain on sick leave. Six of them have been released from isolation after two consecutive negative tests for COVID-19, and they are continuing their recovery at home. One person remains in isolation.
Welcoming them back to work, was Minister of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs Cynthia Forde, who warned the public against stigmatizing NAB workers.
She said: “I want the rest of Barbados and the world to know how much we value the contribution of these hardworking, dedicated members of staff here, who do not only look after their own families, but they go out into the trenches and into the households and communities across the length and breadth of Barbados to be able to bring service and care, particularly to our elderly folk.”
The NAB serves more than 1,100 mostly elderly clients, among them 200 people who are entirely dependent on the NAB’s services because there are no family members or other support systems to care for them.
She praised “the strength, the resilience and the camaraderie” of the staff and their caregivers during the quarantine.
Forde revealed that six former members of the St. Thomas community in which she grew up had died in the United States from COVID-19.
She said: “We grew up together; we worked together; we worshipped together and so I want to advise all Barbadians do not let your guard down. Whether it be on the street, in the buses or whatever form of transport you’re using, whether you are going around in the workplace, take nothing for granted.”
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