Acting Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Kenneth George says while nine of the 95 Ghanaian nurses who arrived here on Thursday tested positive for COVID-19, this is not extraordinary.
Dr George said several people across the world have been afflicted by COVID-19, which knows no boundaries and can affect anyone regardless of whether they are rich, or the colour of their skin.
The CMO Barbados is part of a global community, and it is important for Barbadians to understand that unfortunate incidents of multiple cases from one destination is possible, particularly as the country reopens its borders.
Speaking during a press conference this afternoon, the doctor said out of the 248 tests conducted on Friday; there were 12 positive cases, which all remain asymptomatic.
“The other 86 persons, who came from Ghana, all tested negative. It should be noted that all nurses went into 14 days quarantine on arrival. In addition, we are increasing our monitoring and surveillance at designated facilities. This was always understood to be a necessary precaution,” he said.
“The policy of Barbados is that based on your risks, we have the ultimate right to make a decision who is tested at our borders. Unfortunately, many of the Ghanaians did not come with a test as was required by the Barbadian authorities. However, we corrected that immediately and we were able to identify those nine individuals.
“Let me make it clear that the reason why the nurses were to come to Barbados in the first place was one, when we did our due diligence, we realized that many of these nurses were highly trained and experts within their area. And secondly, they were going to complement our work flow within primary care, within geriatric hospitals, and at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) where there are significant deficiencies in our human resources. The good news is that these persons are here to eventually help us,” he said.
Dr George said the other three cases included a Barbadian female who returned on July 29; a male visitor who arrived on July 30; and a Barbadian man who came from the United Kingdom with a negative test, but who when required to travel again returned a positive test result.
He said authorities are still investigating the circumstances of the Barbadian man’s positive result, a process which he said will require extensive contact tracing.
The CMO said it is significant that only one person who tested positive yesterday had a cut off level in the results, which suggest that the person may be in the acute phase of infection, while the remaining 11 are likely to be in the recovery phase.
He reiterated that in following Barbados’ protocols, all persons who tested positive were placed in isolation.
Meanwhile, Dr George said he has advised Minister of Health Lt Col Jeffrey Bostic that out of an abundance of caution, officials and media personnel who attended the welcoming ceremony for the Ghanaian nurses at the Arrival Hall of the Grantley Adams International Aiport (GAIA) should separate themselves from their workplaces.
However, he assured that the local team did not have any physical interactions with the nurses, while everyone worse masks and social distancing was maintained, while at the airport.
“At the same time, I am happy to report that two more people will leave the isolation facility at Harrison’s Point today after recovering from COVID-19. Persons leaving the isolation facility will have two consecutive negative tests.
“This brings the total number of persons who have recovered to 98, while 70 persons are in isolation. The Best-dos-Santos Laboratory should be complimented for in the short space of five months, we have been able to do over 11, 500 tests on persons coming into Barbados, Barbadian citizens with any respiratory illness, and persons who needed further investigations,” he said.
Dr George said the latest positive test results have proved that the public health protocols are working, making the way for health authorities to detect positive cases at ports of entry, before arriving passengers are allowed to mix with the general population. (AH)
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