Chief Medical Officer Says Omicron is Here in the Community

Barbados has recorded one confirmed solitary case of the Omicron variant on the island.

This disclosure was made by the Chief Medical Officer, the Right Honorable Dr. Kenneth George, during the presentation of the COVID-19 update on Thursday.

We don’t need to panic. We’ve been down this road before.

“We have had confirmation from Omicron by the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) Laboratory, only one case, and to date this is the only confirmed case we have had,” the CMO said.

He went on to say, “However, I have to express this by saying that we have done testing, preliminary sequencing at Best-Dos Santos [Laboratory] and there is also preliminary evidence that Omicron is established in Barbados.

Additional “carefully selected samples” were sent to CARPHA for testing with results expected in seven to 10 days.

“Once we have this information, we will share it with the public,” reassured Dr George.

He pointed out that public health officials have repeatedly indicated in recent weeks that Barbados would not have been spared from the new variant. Officials had warned that the possibility of the latest variant of COVID-19 being within our borders was high based on the experience of several other countries around the world where the virus had spread extremely rapidly within communities.

However, Dr George, who hinted they had known about the case for five or six days now, warned people not to panic. “We don’t need to panic. We’ve been down this road before.

The chief medical officer suggested that while some may have touted strict border control measures, these, taken in isolation, were not effective in combating the spread of virus variants.

“The implementation of border controls, while it may have had some utility in the delta variant in Barbados, border controls will not be the only method to stop the spread of the virus,” he said. he declares.

During his address, he also provided the most recent COVID-19 statistics which indicate that the number of new cases of COVID-19 has increased over the past five to six days.

“We have 247 new cases out of approximately 1483 tests and this number has increased over the past week. Our indices are on the rise again; the CMO warned.

While the indices were effective when they were below 0.8, he said they now sit at 1.44, which means that two individuals are likely to transmit the virus to three people.

The 14-day cumulative averages per 100,000 and the 7-day cumulative averages per 100,000 increased.

Although studies have shown that deaths and disease severity from Omicron appear to be lower than from Delta, Dr. George suggested that the vulnerable elderly population and high incidence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) would still make it difficult the fight against the latest mutation.

“While the likelihood of serious illness and death is not as high, based on volumes alone, we have the potential to overwhelm our healthcare system that we are trying to protect,” he warned.

He urged islanders to continue to follow established protocols, which included wearing masks at all times in public spaces, in tight spaces and indoors.

The chief medical officer stressed that physical distancing was equally important, as well as frequent hand disinfection.

He also encouraged people to get vaccinated as another layer of protection and said booster shots offered better protection against the highly contagious variant of Omicron.