Minister of Health and Wellness, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Bostic has announced that there will be an escalation in the numbers of people being tested for COVID-19 “in short order”.
Speaking at a press conference on Monday, he explained: “We will do so because we want to be absolutely certain that there is no community transmission in this country. Even though at this stage we have seen no evidence to suggest this, out of an abundance of caution, that is the direction that we want to be able to go.”
Government’s ability to widen the scope has been facilitated by the acquisition of 2,800 swabs, which became available today, he said, significantly increasing the Ministry of Health and Wellness’ capacity.
Reiterating his call for residents not to become complacent after five consecutive days of no positive COVID-19 cases, he disclosed that the testing criteria will also be revised and a number of additional testing sites opened up for persons to access testing.
The Health and Wellness Minister noted that up to now a “fairly rigid criteria” to qualify for testing has been in place, largely because the available resources had to be carefully managed. He explained that Barbados started the process with only 500 testing kits at its disposal.
He announced: “I am happy to say today that from the paltry figure of 500 we now have available in this country 27,000 tests.”
Minister Bostic revealed that the Emergency Operations Centre will be putting out a new document that will be sent to all stakeholders, including service organizations such as the Medical and Nursing Councils as well as the Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners and the pharmacy associations, in terms of the revised criteria.