In the wake of a rapid rise in COVID-19 cases, Barbadians and visitors in quarantine will be mandated to wear bracelets to allow health authorities to effectively track their whereabouts.
Speaking during a press conference today, Minister of Health Lt Col Jeffrey Bostic said the new bracelets, which will be placed on persons in quarantine from next Wednesday, will make it more difficult for individuals to breach quarantine.
“The bracelets that we are speaking about are tracking bracelets. They have a mechanism, they are tamper-proof, and they are also water-resistant. And as soon as anyone tries to do anything, an alarm goes off and the command and control centre will receive those alerts and we would then be able to respond. If a person goes out of the area that they are supposed to be in quarantine, again the alarm goes off and we will be able to respond and respond properly,” he said.
Bostic said that in light of an increase in complaints over the last few weeks regarding persons in quarantine at hotels removing wrist band bracelets issued by hotel managements, the technologically advanced bracelets would allow health authorities and Barbadians to breathe a little easier.
“So we expect to be able to roll out that programme come Wednesday,” Bostic said.
Chair of the Cabinet Sub Committee Minister of Foreign Affairs Senator Dr Jerome Walcott said following the major spike in cases, there is currently a quarantine area at the prison, which has the capacity to accommodate the treatment and isolation of 100 positive individuals.
Walcott said while the Harrison’s Point Isolation Facility has a capacity of 200 persons, there are provisions for an additional 30, however due to the evolving nature of the process, Government is looking at using the Blackman and Gollop Primary School once again as an isolation facility.
Chief Medical Officer Dr Kenneth George said to augment the testing capacity; the Ministry of Health will be opening policlinics tomorrow and on Monday and Tuesday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for COVID-19 testing. The polyclinics include Winston Scott, Edgar Cochrane, Maurice Byer, Randolph Phillips and the Glebe Polyclinic.
Dr George explained that while there are a total of 1,130 inmates and staff at Her Majesty’s Prison Dodds, 133 people were swabbed, representing between 91 and 92 per cent of the total population, which is approximately 788 prisoners, 347 members of staff and 35 civilian staff.
“As we mentioned, this is a work in progress, even as I speak our numbers are being updated, so it is difficult to sometimes at any one point in time give you accurate information, but this is information that we have. We encourage persons to contact the hotline; we have added ten additional lines to the hotline so there should not be much difficulty in persons accessing the hotline.
“Today, we had over 600 individuals turned up to test at the Eunice Gibson Polyclinic and we tried our best to accommodate all. I take this opportunity to remind persons that it is very important that during the pandemic you follow the health officials judgement. Wearing of masks, washing of hands and social distancing is absolutely critical at this time. We intend to test all prisoners and staff at Her Majesty’s Dodds in five days,” Dr George said. (AH)