A 31-year-old man, the latest COVID-19-positive case, now joins a “handful” of individuals being investigated by the Ministry of Health amid speculation that the epidemic may have evolved to community spread.
The man had no recent travel history nor can he be linked to any known contacts, the ministry said in a statement.
His was the only positive result among 177 returned by the Best-dos Santos Public Health Laboratory yesterday.
Chief Medical Officer Dr Anton Best revealed on Voice of Barbados radio that four COVID-19 cases are under investigation.
Noting that the majority of the island’s 85 cases were imported and were largely identified through contact tracing, he said authorities are still analysing the source of infection of a “handful” of cases.
Dr Best said: “We do have a handful of [cases] that are being investigated but at this point, we do have at the very least, a plausible epidemiological link to explain how those persons would have acquired COVID-19. So we don’t have any cases not accounted for, but you would appreciate that the contact tracing process could take a few hours and in some cases, it could take many weeks. But we are constantly investigating and many times we don’t make a conclusion until we have all the facts, until we have exhausted all the possibilities.”
But as the number of new infections trends downwards, Dr Best again cautioned that the island was not out of the woods. He urged Barbadians to firmly adhere to physical distancing, proper hand hygiene and the wearing of a mask.
He also hinted that the island could soon see a further ease in restrictions following another round of upcoming consultations involving the Emergency Operations Centre, the Cabinet Sub-committee and the Social Partnership.
But he declined to disclose details
Dr Best said: “I am not at liberty to say what they will be at that time. What I can is that the Ministry of Health will play a role in terms of advising what the landscape is in terms of the epidemiology and we will make specific recommendations.
“We don’t foresee a scenario where we will get back to where we were four months ago, but certainly we will be gradually returning to a sense of normalcy. We will make incremental recommendations.
“It will all be in the context of what is happening in terms of the epidemic in Barbados.”