Emphasis on contact tracing
Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Anton Best said there is no evidence yet of community spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) but health officials are aggressively using contact tracing to limit an increase in infections.
A press release from Barbados Government Information Service today said a number of Barbadians tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday, March 27, and Saturday, March 28.
Those receiving positive results for the viral illness on Friday were a 78-year-old female, who recently travelled abroad; and two other females aged 30 and 50, who had both been in contact with people who had COVID-19.
The positive cases on Friday were three males, aged 81, 52 and 49, who all experienced symptoms after returning from overseas.
Best said earlier that of the 33 cases confirmed today, the majority were imported and others were identified through contact tracing. Investigations are ongoing. He said the majority of cases categorised as imported related to people who live in Barbados and who had travelled overseas and returned.
The Best-dos Santos Public Health Laboratory had conducted 287 tests since testing began four weeks ago, he said.
The Acting Chief Medical Officer noted that the Ministry of Health and Wellness had no evidence so far of community spread.
“We do not have any numbers or any indication that it is happening. We believe it’s happening, or it could be happening, and that’s why we’re looking for it. So, from a surveillance standpoint, we are constantly reviewing our criteria for testing because we want to find as many people as possible.
“And this is public health at its finest. The earlier we find cases, the sooner we can contain the spread by isolating those persons who are diagnosed with COVID-19.
“I can’t, however, say that the 33 represent all of the persons with COVID. I cannot even tell you if it represents just a small proportion of the persons with COVID-19, but we are looking for it aggressively,” the public health official said.
Best urged everyone experiencing respiratory symptoms to report this to the COVID-19 hotline, 536-4500, or to their healthcare provider, so that an early determination can be made on whether or not they fit the criteria for testing for COVID-19. (BGIS)
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