Head of Isolation Facilities Dr Corey Forde has condemned efforts to “tear down” management and staff at the Harrison Point facility through the reckless spread of “fake” information about the situation at the COVID-19 management centre.
In fact, he revealed that misinformation about conditions there is taking a toll on the morale of the country’s frontline healthcare workers who continue to make tremendous personal sacrifices to battle continuous COVID-19 spikes.
“There are several people who work here who give their all, so it is hard for me when I see certain things on social media, especially when they are not correct,” Forde declared.
“It is heart wrenching, and [Tuesday] I spent my entire day trying to keep this team together because people were just upset and felt downtrodden. There are people here who don’t even see their children within 24 hours, because they come home, the kid is at school, and when they go back the kid is crying and they come in and talk about it.
“So when people say things and try to derail the facility, it is hurtful and I will not stand by and sit down and not defend the staff in the facility because I know the sorts of efforts that they put in,” Dr Forde added.
He was responding to viral social media claims that authorities were lying about the number of vaccinated people in isolation and that persons admitted to the facility were being subjected to inhumane treatment.
However, Forde revealed that on Wednesday morning, 23 fully vaccinated people, three partially vaccinated people, 27 unvaccinated adults, and 18 children were in tertiary isolation, meaning they are either asymptomatic or experiencing mild symptoms.
He further disclosed that there were no fully vaccinated people in secondary care, which caters to symptomatic patients and one vaccinated person with underlying health issues in primary isolation, which caters to patients in need of intensive care.
“That paints the picture for you. The majority of persons in this facility who are ill and require any level of intensive care are located in our primary and secondary area and the majority of these individuals are all unvaccinated… and it speaks to what we have said before and what I just said. The risk of vaccinated people becoming extremely ill is much less. It’s not zero, but it’s much less,” the public health expert maintained.
The viral social media post also alleged, among other things, that there was a shortage of beds and sheets, forcing at least one patient to purchase their own.
In response, Dr Forde admitted that on the day in question, the facility was awaiting a shipment of linen but within about an hour, the Client Relations Department had rectified the problem and the patient’s move to purchase alternative sheets was a personal decision.
Furthermore, Client Relations and Operations Officer Ingrid Caddle Rowe revealed that patients have access to mental health services, Zumba, football, indoor recreational facilities and children friendly spaces.
“There should be no Barbadian in this country who tries to pull this facility down,” stressed Dr Forde.
“When we are wrong, we would say we are wrong, when we do something that’s incorrect, we will say that we did something that is incorrect, but I am asking for Barbadians to be supportive of all of these Barbadians who come here and give their life.
“I am asking Barbadians during this time to put aside politics, partisanship. Put aside whether you like the idea of vaccinations or not,” Dr Forde added.