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Forde says COVID fight at ‘critical stage’

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Forde says COVID fight at ‘critical stage’
Infectious disease specialist Dr Corey Forde as he appeared on CBC TV8 on Saturday night. (GP)

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Barbados’ infectious disease specialist and head of isolation facilities, Dr Corey Forde, is pleading with people to change their behaviour as the country continues to grapple with the community spread of COVID-19.

Forde said younger people, some with no underlying illnesses and those who were perfectly healthy were ending up at the Harrison Point Isolation facility in St Lucy.

There are 18 people in primary care at Harrison Point, comprising seven females and 11 males. Three people are on ventilators, including one healthcare professional. There 23 in secondary care, 15 of whom are men. They range from age 37 to 77.

Barbados recorded seven deaths for all of 2020 and to date, there were 17 for 2021.

And Forde’s simple advice is to stay at home if you don’t need to leave because “we are at a critical stage” in this country in terms of COVID-19.

“The only people in this country who can change the narrative of where we are tonight … it is not the Prime Minister. It is not me, it is not the Minister of Health, not the Ministry of Health. They can be involved in making the process the way it is supposed to be, and advising, but the only persons … that can change the wave of where we are in this country, to any degree, is every single Barbadian in every single household,” Forde advised.

In an interview on CBC TV8 on Saturday night, he said people felt good, they were “asymptomatic” and were not being as vigilant as they should. Many were not wearing masks, were exercising in large groups and not physical distancing.

The infectious disease specialist said healthcare workers were being affected and “that is where the rubber meets the road” because they are the ones who look after the general population.

On the increasing number of deaths, he said when COVID-19 first appeared in Barbados, very few people knew anyone with the viral illness. However, more people now know someone who had it and if we get to the stage where everyone knows someone who dies, “we would be up a creek”.

Forde said there was a myth in the beginning that COVID was with the tourists, which was partially true, but people did not take into account it could be transmitted into the general population. He said this transfer could rattle countries – which has happened all over the world – but we were now experiencing it in Barbados.

One of his challenges is keeping the camaraderie up at Harrison Point. He said a bus of 20 patients would arrive, then another 20 and another 15. They would discharge 24 and more would come. And while he will do his part with the staff, he urged Barbadians to do their part as well.

He also told Barbadians to check on each other and lend a helping hand to the neighbour who may not have food.  (SAT)

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