Vulnerable groups most likely to be seriously affected by COVID-19 are being advised to be extremely careful following a spike in cases on the island.
The caution has come from the Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners (BAMP), which has expressed concern with the large number of positive cases registered in the last few days.
With the Crop Over Festival having climaxed on Tuesday following the conclusion of Grand Kadooment and Soca on the Hill, health officials have seen a sharp increase in cases, coupled with a high positivity rate.
While on Wednesday there were 325 positive cases recorded from just 693 tests, on Thursday those numbers more than doubled with 718 new cases being recorded from 1566 tests.
When contacted, Minister of Health and Wellness Ian Gooding-Edghill told Barbados TODAY he would speak to the matter at a later date.
In a statement titled BAMP Recommendations on Management of Omicron BA5 COVID-19 and released on Thursday night by its president Dr Lynda Williams, the health body urged Barbadians to closely monitor their health and that of their loved ones.
BAMP especially advised elderly persons and those with medical conditions to be extra vigilant and careful.
In the event persons in the “high-risk category” become seriously ill, BAMP implored them to seek medical help and not attempt to self-treat.
“BAMP takes this opportunity to remind the public, in light of the recent surge of cases, to get tested for COVID-19 if you, your family, or close contacts are experiencing flu-like symptoms. These symptoms include: sore throat, fever, chills, cough, headache, muscle and joint pains as well as gastrointestinal symptoms (nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea). It is important to do a PCR test and know your status as this will facilitate your immediate care should complications arise.
“Persons testing positive for COVID-19 must avoid all contact with those who are at high risk of severe illness such as elderly persons and those with chronic diseases: asthma, lung disease, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, kidney failure, heart disease, cancer and compromised immune systems,” BAMP warned.
“Emergency medical care is required for any adult or child experiencing persistent vomiting or diarrhea, high fever, seizures, listlessness/decreased responsiveness, productive cough with shortness of breath and/or chest pain, wheezing, and dizziness.”
BAMP advised persons who tested positive or attended an event where several people later tested positive for COVID-19, to test three to five days after the exposure.
However, the doctors suggested that persons experiencing symptoms should test immediately as well as three days later if the initial test is negative.
“Most persons with COVID-19 will experience two to five days of illness and then have gradual resolution of symptoms. However, we implore those in home isolation to remember that even when you are no longer symptomatic, you can still spread COVID-19. Please observe the full 10-day period of home isolation and stay at home avoiding contact with others who are well. As far as possible, remain in one room, always wear a mask when in common areas, sanitize often and use your own cups, plates and utensils,” BAMP said.
BAMP also advised that fever should be managed with appropriate doses of paracetamol and tepid (lukewarm) water sponging, as well as fluid replacement. Asthmatics should make sure that they have both maintenance (steroid) and rescue inhaler (e.g Ventolin/salbutamol) and use their inhalers as directed by their medical doctor.