Friday 5 June, 2020

Highly contagious! CMO warns: COVID-19 is not the common cold

Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Anton Best

Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Anton Best

“This is a serious and potentially deadly, contagious disease. This is not the common cold, by no stretch of the imagination.”

Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Anton Best uttered these words of caution earlier today (April 5) as he provided information on COVID-19 during the day's press briefing. His warning came as a response to a question posed on the recent classification of the novel coronavirus.

Dr Best went on to elaborate that the virus is being described as such due to the potential severity of the illness and the potential burden it poses to health care systems.

“For every one person who is infected approximately an additional three persons can become infected. That would explain the rapid spread in many different countries where you have an exponential rise in cases,” the medical official added while reiterating the highly contagious nature of the disease.

Barbados’ positive COVID-19 cases stand at 56 with the island’s first death recorded today. In providing an update Dr Best informed:

“As of April 4, 2020, we have conducted 527 laboratory tests for COVID-19. Of the 56 cases, 28 are males and 28 are women, ranging in ages from seven to 83 [years old].” The vast majority of cases were imported with a significant portion being identified through contact tracing. The majority of the COVID-positive patients were said to be in mild to moderate condition.

In accordance with the country’s quarantine protocol, the Acting CMO stated that mandatory quarantine was being imposed on persons who would have travelled from abroad and persons identified through contact tracing were allowed to quarantine at home.

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“All of the persons who are in quarantine, whether it’s in a facility or whether at home, are monitored on a daily basis. That monitoring includes asking about the development of symptoms for Covid... it also involved daily temperature checks, twice a day, so once in the morning and once in the evening,” he stated.

In terms of the local contact tracing efforts Dr Best stated that there was no escalation of the spread of the disease but investigations were ongoing as it related to three of the most recent cases.

“We usually need a couple days to make the link to determine where persons got the infection from. We need at least 48-72 hours to make the determination as to the source of the infection.”

He indicated that although the crowding outside of supermarkets last Friday (April 3) did cause some concern, there was no expectation of a spike in the number of new cases, as there was still no evidence of community transmission of COVID -19.

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