Major spike in COVID cases
Over the past two days, almost 200 people tested positive for the COVID-19 virus and public health officials are investigating at least three clusters, one of which is a super spreader event accounting for the majority of new cases.
Head of the Cabinet COVID-19 sub-committee, Senator Jerome Walcott, said 161 people at Her Majesty’s Prison Dodds, comprising inmates, wardens and civilian staff returned positive tests. And on Friday and Saturday, 33 cases outside of the prison – via contact tracing and visitors at the Grantley Adams International Airport – were also recorded.
Of that 161, there are 113 inmates and 48 staff who tested positive.
The main super spreader event is a Boxing Day bus crawl that made several stops at West Coast bars, some of which are now closed. Officials are also looking at two smaller clusters comprising seven and four cases, respectively, centering around a visitor and a hotel worker. There is a possibility of two more clusters, but these have not returned any positive cases at this time.
Walcott said more than 1 000 samples were taken and the contact tracing has been fairly successful. More than 100 people are now doing contact tracing and in excess of 600 people turned up for testing at the Eunice Gibson Polyclinic at Warrens, St Michael on Saturday.
The newly appointed COVID czar said there is an isolation facility at Dodds that can accommodate 100 people and the medical facility can be upgraded. Government is also looking at other facilities, including Blackman and Gollop Primary School, that can be used as quarantine or isolation centres.
Minister of Health and Wellness Jeffrey Bostic said “we are on top of this situation as far as the prison is concerned”.
Meanwhile, Chief Medical Officer Dr Kenneth George said six more polyclinics will be opened on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for the express purpose of testing and assessments. These include Winston Scott on Jemmott Lane, St Michael; Edgar Cochrane at Wildey, St Michael; Maurice Byer at Station Hill, St Peter; Randall Phillips in Oistins, Christ Church; The Glebe Polyclinic in Glebe, St George and Six Roads Polyclinic in St Philip.
People going for testing are advised not to use public transportation. (SAT)