For the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, Barbados has recorded two deaths from coronavirus (COVID-19) within a 24-hour period.
Both deceased were patients of the Harrison Point Isolation Facility for a few days.
The two Barbadians, a 55-year-old male and a 64-year-old female, died within an hour of each other this morning.
Dr Corey Forde, Infectious Diseases Specialist and the Consultant in Charge of Harrison Point, noted the similarities between the two cases. Both patients suffered from pre-existing, chronic non-communicable diseases. Both were experiencing shortness of breath for some days before seeking medical help at the Accident and Emergency Department of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital QEH), according to a statement from the COVID Communications Unit.
Dr Forde called on Barbadians not to self-diagnose or ignore signs such as fatigue; headaches; persistent sinus drips; flu-like symptoms; headaches; loss of taste or smell; and changes in breathing, either rapid breathing or shortness of breath. He stressed that any one of these symptoms, or any combination of them, could be a sign of COVID infection.
The doctor pointed out that people with chronic non-communicable diseases were particularly vulnerable to complications of COVID-19. He said that within households and family settings, people with these conditions should be closely monitored.
The Infectious Diseases Specialist warned, “Very often people do not even realise they are experiencing symptoms because the symptoms seem mild and are frequently ignored or dismissed.”
“These factors and these latest deaths explain the importance of the medical professionals getting into the communities in order to identify and save those persons who are at risk,” he said.
Forde was referring to the Ministry of Health and Wellness’ new, community-based-intervention, “Operation Seek and Save”, which will witness health officials working in communities to identify people with COVID-19.
Minister of Health and Wellness Jeffrey Bostic extended condolences to the grieving families. The Minister also commended Forde and the entire team at Harrison Point for their efforts in what he described as, “two difficult cases”.
He said: “All lives are precious and the team fights to save every single one. I know they feel it whenever there is a loss. This situation would therefore be difficult for them.”
Bostic joined Forde in urging Barbadians not to delay, but to seek immediate help for themselves or their loved ones when they start to feel sick.
“And as usual, I remind Barbadians not to let their guard down around family and friends. We create risks of exposure to COVID infection for ourselves and each other whenever we are not wearing a mask. Do not take that chance,” Bostic said.