Barbados Minister of Health Lt. Col. Jeffrey Bostic said Monday that his ministry has been monitoring a number of COVID-19 “hotspots” at elderly care facilities, one of which has had to be turned into an isolation facility because of the large number of residents and staff testing positive for the virus.
He cited the Geriatric Hospital and two senior citizens’ homes – one in the parish of St. Michael and the other on the eastern side of the island – as the facilities which public health officials have focused their attention over the last ten days.
Bostic said the home located on the east of the island posed a challenge for health officials since it was a larger institution where there were 31 positive patients.
Three staff members also tested positive using PCR tests, while another three were diagnosed as positive using antigen rapid tests and were awaiting results from their PCR tests.
“Because of the peculiarity with the situation with several elderly people and given the layout of this particular home, which is bigger than the average home, we’ve decided in collaboration with Dr. Corey Forde [Head of Isolation Facilities] that we will designate, and we have done so, this particular home as an isolation facility because the majority of people there are positive,” Minister Bostic said.
“We’ve taken control of the home for this period to help them get out of the situation by utilizing resources of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital as well as the Ministry of Health in terms of our public health officers and medical officers.
“We have done a serious job of sanitizing the place and rearranging things so that we can do what we are doing at the moment under the safest of conditions and that will be ongoing,” he added.
As for the senior citizens home in St. Michael, Bostic said it recorded five positive cases using the antigen rapid test. However, he added that when public health officials tested everyone using the PCR tests, there were two additional positive cases.
Meantime, the Health Minister said since the last report of one positive case at the island’s Geriatric Hospital a few weeks ago, there have been five additional cases at that institution – two kitchen staff members and three nurses. They were all asymptomatic.
The silver lining, he explained, was that after conducting several tests all of the patients there had returned negative test results for COVID-19.
“And the remainder of the staff except for 20, who we are awaiting tests for, they are all negative. So that the kitchen which was stood down, sanitized and everything is going to be back in operation from today, and I give my sincerest appreciation to the entire staff at the Geriatric Hospital for staying the course. So, we are comfortable with where we are with the Geriatric Hospital at this time,” Minister Bostic stated.