Infectious Diseases Specialist and head of the isolation facilities Dr Corey Forde is warning Barbadians that the country’s COVID-19 fight, which is already at a critical stage is likely to get worse before it gets better.
Declaring that prayer is a must at this time, Dr Forde, during an exclusive interview on the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), said that there are now 41 very ill people at the Harrison’s Point Isolation Facility and some of them are young with no pre-existing health conditions.
“I am sure things will get rougher. But whether they get rougher or how rough they get depends on the average Barbadian taking the instructions and running with it,” he said.
He noted that as health-care professionals work around the clock to deal with the increased numbers of positive cases, it is striking that too many Barbadians are not following protocols.
He said it is striking that in the middle of a pandemic; people are still not wearing masks, and have not been physical distancing.
In fact, Dr Forde said it is because of complacency among the population that the number of COVID-19 related deaths now stands at 24. He said the time has come for people to assume that the average shopper at the supermarket has COVID.
“The tide has changed in Barbados at this point. We are at a very critical stage of this outbreak in this country and the average Barbadian at the sound of my voice has to understand that if they do not follow these protocols, if they don’t follow the rules and regulations, if they don’t stay put for a little bit . . .
“There is no need to run to the supermarket every day. There is no need to run to the gas station because it is opened and you just want to get $20 in gas. It doesn’t make sense. We are in the middle of a pandemic and people are dying. We are now at a stage where our health-care workers are being affected and that’s where the rubber meets the road,” Dr Forde said.
“The reason I am like this today is because I foresee what is to come … We need to stop. Reflect on what you are doing. Think about why you are going to the supermarket. Think about why to me on Friday it looked as though it was the December 23,” he added.
The doctor also said that he was extremely concerned about the myth that only the elderly are being admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) when the reality stands that the ages of persons at the unit because they are gravely ill, are between the ages of 37 and 77-years-old and some of them have no non-communicable disease or underlying illnesses.
“There are 18 patients currently in primary isolation; seven females and 11 males and three of them are currently intubated, including one health-care professional, which is really heart wrenching for us. In recent days, we had a 45-year-old national who was on dialysis and she fought really hard, and we fought hard with her, and I think the staff took that one significantly, she would have died. But we have younger people in there who may just have asthma,” he said.
“And I would tell you now that the secondary isolation is turning into really what it was designed to do because more people are getting sick … I think if we ever get to a stage where every Barbadian know someone who died, then we would be up a creek,” Dr Forde added.
He said it also needs to be clear that persons, who are initially asymptomatic, are also falling ill.
Dr Forde also appealed to people across communities to check in on elderly residents if they do not see them for a while. He also called on persons to seek medical attention immediately if they begin to feel ill.
The Infectious Diseases Specialist also added that persons with non-communicable diseases and other existing health conditions must be extra cautious and ensure they follow the protocols. (AH)