The rapid increase in the numbers of COVID-19 patients is having an exhausting effect on front-line workers.
During a frank and chilling interview on the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) Saturday evening, Infectious Diseases Specialist and head of the isolation facilities Dr Corey Forde said front-line workers who are working around the clock to treat COVID-19 patients and contain the spread of the virus are feeling tired as an increased number of Barbadians become ill.
He said the front-line workers, particularly those at the Harrison’s Point Isolation Facility “have been going” since the local outbreak at the beginning of the year.
“And the numbers are increasing. And when you bring a bus of 20 [positive COVID-19 patients to the facility] you bring a bus of another 20 and then another 15. And then you discharge 24 and it seems like a never-ending battle,” he said.
Dr Forde said that he constantly has to keep the workers motivated and ensure that a level of camaraderie is maintained.
Apologizing for his passionate tone, which he said was necessary because of the critical stage of the outbreak, Dr Forde said many of the front-line workers at the isolation facilities were young people from The City who have been fighting the battle since last March.
“And it is hard for them, 12-hour shifts, beating it and working. And doctors helping paint walls, and nurses helping paint walls, and orderlies helping paint walls. [They are] helping to put up fences and rolling out things to help people and calm people at the facility, is hard. Then they go on the street and they see people not wearing the masks or doing what they are supposed to do,” he said.
The doctor said that one of his workers has gone as far as to ask him for masks to share with residents in their community in The City.
He said it was important to note that since Harrison’s Point Isolation Facility opened its doors last year, no worker has tested positive for COVID-19, though he said one was at this time awaiting the results of an antigen test.
“There are three key areas in this outbreak that are important. One is ensuring that the public follows the protocols. Two is ensuring that we have a good remit for the emergency health-care system. Meaning, the Accident and Emergency becomes one of the most critical parts of this country.
“Because there is COVID does not mean people will not have heart attacks, strokes, and diabetic comas, need for emergency surgeries and all the other entities. So, if you factor all of these things into a stretched health-care system, it is going to be like a rubber band. You are going to keep stretching. But the average Barbadian can stop the stretching of the health-care system by what they do but they have to act,” he said. (AH)