Health authorities have uncovered another cluster of COVID-19 cases on the island – three people at a church reportedly in the north, health minister Lt. Col. Jeffrey Bostic revealed Tuesday night.
But he insisted that the surge in cases of coronavirus infections had not yet gone out of control.
The revelation came one day after Senior Medical Officer Dr Anton Best referred to clusters on the west and south coasts.
Lt. Col Bostic told a televised news conference: “At this time we have determined that we have an outbreak at [HMP] Dodds, there is a West Coast cluster, a South Coast cluster, the bus crawl and there is a small cluster which coming out of today’s contact tracing, the preliminary report, that is also linked to the West Coast cluster.
“On my way here a report came in that suggested to me that there is a church in the north of the country that has three positive cases and through the contact tracing process today all three cases have been linked to this West Coast cluster.”
The minister disclosed to date they were 86 cases emanating from the West Coast cluster, including 27 from West Bar, 18 from the Paradise Beach Lime held on Boxing Day, 16 from two restaurants, 11 from two hotels and seven cases from a catamaran cruise.
He said the bus crawl cluster and the South Coast cluster remained at 16 positive cases and four positive cases respectively.
And while Lt. Col. Bostic admitted that the recent spike in COVID-19 cases was not “under complete control”, he insisted Government had not lost control of the situation.
The health minister said: “There is absolutely no way that as Minister of Health and Wellness that I would sit here and say to the people of Barbados that this is a situation that is completely under control. In relation to the testing and the returning of results, we admitted that we have been struggling with that and that we have been taking steps to get out of this in the coming days.
“But that has been a struggle… what I can say to you is that the situation at the moment, we are trying to contain the situation. We are doing everything possible, it is not out of control but to say that it is under control would be to say that we have everything at our disposal that is going the way that we want it to go.
“And when I say it is not out of control I mean because the cases that we are seeing predominantly are linked to the clusters that we have identified and until we see and I hope that we never see a lot of cases across the country that we are unable to link then we know that we have not lost control.
“We have not lost control because we still have the capacity to deal with what we are dealing with even though in one or two areas that capacity has been stretched but not broken and we are fixing those areas.”
Lt. Col. Bostic assured Barbadians that there was no need for alarm and panic.
He said health authorities would describe the situation as being fully under control “when the numbers are on the decline in the way that we anticipate”.
Latest figures from the Health Ministry show that Barbados now has 968 confirmed COVID-19 cases.
There were 84 new positive cases on Monday resulting from the 974 tests carried out by the Best-dos Santos Public Health Laboratory.
Of 84 new cases, there are 75 men and nine women. Sixty-seven of the cases were from Her Majesty’s Prisons, Dodds.
Nine persons were released today leaving 553 persons in isolation.