Covid-19 has struck another death blow in Barbados. In the early hours of this morning, February 4, the disease claimed the life of a 93 year old Barbadian lady. With her passing, the number of Covid-19 related deaths in Barbados now stands at 16.
At the time of her passing, the senior citizen had been a patient of Harrison Point’s Secondary Isolation Ward for 11 days, having been admitted there on January 24. As with the majority of persons who have died from Covid-19 in Barbados, chronic noncommunicable diseases of hypertension and diabetes were part of the lady’s medical history.
Minister of Health and Wellness, Lt. Col. Hon Jeffrey Bostic, offers his deepest condolences to the grieving family. The Minister also reminded Barbadians that “something as simple as a persistent dry cough could be a symptom of COVID. Persons must not take flu-like, or unusual symptoms for granted, but seek medical help early. This applies in particular, to persons we know to be in the high risk groups, such as the elderly and those who suffer with diabetes, hypertension and other chronic noncommunicable diseases.”
The Minister also stressed the importance of developing health and safety protocols for our homes. “This would involve cleaning and sanitizing the house; mask wearing, especially around vulnerable family members; frequent hand washing with soap and water; trying to maintain physical distances as much as possible; and allowing proper ventilation by keeping doors and windows open. We have a fight on our hands and these measures are now essential.”
He further added, “with Barbados’ and the Caribbean’s high incidence of chronic noncommunicable diseases among national and regional populations, those who contract Covid-19 are at serious risk.
We must not think of COVID as a disease of the elderly, because many people in our country, in all age groups, are diabetic or hypertensive and would therefore be considered high risk. In fact, there are many persons who suffer from more than one chronic condition and it is not unusual, for example, for persons to have both diabetes and high blood pressure at the same time.”
“Every life is valuable and we do not want to lose anyone, but given the comorbidities of NCDs as complicating factors for persons infected with Covid-19, our frontline, health-care professionals and especially the team at Harrison Point, must be commended for the excellent work they are doing in saving so many lives.”
The Minister again stressed the importance of “Operation Seek and Save” in interrupting the current national wave of COVID and urged the cooperation of the general public. He explained that, “all interviewers will be wearing protective gear. They will be equipped with sanitisers and will be maintaining physical distance when conducting the interviews.”
“I know that safety and security concerns have been raised, but our interviewers will be working in teams; will have proper identification and will not be working at night. “In relation to issues of confidentiality surrounding the information collected in the interviews”, the Minister said, “interviewers have all been trained and signed confidentiality agreements.
They will not be taking persons names, only the relevant information and that information will be identified by geo-mapping, not be anyone’s name. The information that is taken goes directly to the Ministry of Health and Wellness and the interviewer does not have access to it. Every safeguard has been put in place to protect the names and privacy of those interviewed.”