Monday 3 August, 2020

Facility at Harrison Point to be used as COVID-19 isolation center

PM Mottley (left) and Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation.

PM Mottley (left) and Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation.

The government of Barbados has identified the old naval base facility at Harrison Point in St Lucy to be used as a quarantine and isolation facility for anyone affected by the COVID-19 virus.

The announcement came from Chair of CARICOM and Prime Minister Mia Mottley during a press conference on Sunday.

CARICOM Heads of Government, representatives of the CARPHA and PAHO, as well as health and tourism officials convened in a special emergency meeting at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Center (LESC) in St Michael to discuss the ramping up of measures to deal with the COVID-19 virus, in light of cases that have presented in the French-speaking Caribbean.

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Out of the meeting, a set of regional protocols were established for dealing with the COVID-19 virus, in relation to border protection and the expectations of the cruise industry within each individual member state.

Protocols include the scaling up of measures at the ports of entry, enhancing the training for front-line staff, strengthening laboratory capacity as well as identifying quarantine and isolation facilities.

PM Mottley said the St Lucy facility, which was used to house inmates after the fire at HMP Glendairy back in 2005, will be cleared, cleaned and retrofitted for use. A site visit was conducted over the weekend and it was determined that patient capacity would be 150 to 160 people.

“We are looking to use there for both quarantine and isolation. Luckily we have a number of buildings that will allow us to be able to deal with quarantining.  Previously when it was used as a temporary prison, there was also a temporary hospital provided there so we have a building that we will have to bring back into shape. It is a couple weeks work to bring it back into shape but luckily the engineering of the roof and walls are still there.”

“We will, on a building by building basis, start to increase our capacity beyond 80 to 100 [persons] … we are cognizant, that as a home port, we have to be able to contain and allow persons to move quickly.”

A number of facilities have been identified by government for the purpose of quarantine for the COVID-19 and the coronavirus, including the District Hospital in St Lucy, the field hospital at the Garrison in St Michael and at Paragon in Christ Church.

Mottley said the regional protocols established will increase the region’s capacity to detect, manage and contain any incident of infectious disease which may present in any member state.

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