Walcott gives update on testing of QEH staff

Minister of Foreign Affairs and chairman of the Cabinet COVID-19 Sub-Committee Senator Dr Jerome Walcott shed some light on the situation at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) with respect to coronavirus (COVID-19) during a live press conference on Monday.

Walcott read from a report and gave a breakdown of the information by department. He made the point that the report does not “bear out” some of the information circulating in the media about nurses in the Accident and Emergency Department.

The chairman said over the course of the year officials had done very well to keep COVID out of the QEH.

He confirmed that in the Medical Intensive Care Unit, two nurses who had attended a Boxing Day bus crawl were tested for coronavirus (COVID-19). In addition, 36 others who were associated with that unit were swabbed. This included doctors and nurses.

In reviewing the report, Walcott said he was not seeing any positive cases from that sample.

The Respiratory Unit has been closed as the two nurses who work there were swabbed and are awaiting results.

With regard to Ward B4, 14 doctors and nurses had been tested as a precautionary measure. One person had attended a bus crawl. There were no positive results from those tests.

In the Surgical Intensive Care Unit, one patient was swabbed, having been linked to a person associated with the prison.

Walcott said the patient had been screened off. Care has continued with all necessary contingency plans until a report is received.

Staff of the Engineering Department had been tested. The girlfriend of one staff member attended the bus crawl. Her status was unclear at that point.

According to Walcott , one doctor normally associated with the Accident and Emergency Department was contact traced as a possible secondary contact to two positive cases of COVID-19.

The doctor’s first test was negative and she is awaiting a second test.

A prison doctor, who is also a consultant, is in home quarantine and awaiting a second test. He was tested as part of the prison group.

In the Artificial Kidney Unit, one patient had been swabbed. The case is still being investigated.

There was one patient at the QEH who was tested, whose case was not associated wth the Boxing Day bus crawl.

Walcott was speaking during a live press conference which was also addressed by Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley, Minister of Health Jeffrey Bostic, Minister of Home Affairs Wilfred Abrahams and Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Kenneth George.

The press conference was held to give an update on the management of COVID-19 in Barbados.


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