H3N2 flu and COVID numbers up, MOH monitoring Loop Barbados

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Barbados News

Despite the concerning increase in the number of persons testing positive for COVID-19 recently, Chief Medical Officer Dr Kenneth George says that with fewer persons getting tested, the stats in hand may not be telling the true and full extent of the spread currently.

Furthermore, he cautioned that in addition to the prevalence of COVID-19 in the community, there are also documented cases of the H3N2 flu among persons, and “that has also increased within the last two months.

“[So,] We continue to monitor both for flu and the COVID virus… The viruses circulating are certainly not as deadly or causing severe illness as when we were in the throes of Delta. The virus circulating is very infectious so the likelihood of transmission is high but the outcomes appear to be a lot better.”

In an audio Ministry of Health update issued to the media this evening, December 12, COVID-19 Monitoring Unit Chair Ronald Chapman says that the situation as is does not warrant a return to protocols and lockdowns. “We have no intention of returning that approach…[however,] we would want persons to pay attention as we go forward,” he stressed.

And he cautioned people to mask up if ill. The ball is in the court of Barbadians, residents and visitors to police themselves and take responsibility for their respiratory health.

Chapman insisted: “We expect persons to take responsibility for themselves. So we are asking persons as we continue to work through issues of COVID, if you are feeling unwell, if you are feeling ill, it is wise to put on a mask. You may not have COVID, you may be suffering with the flu or maybe just the common cold, but all respiratory diseases can be fought with the use of the mask. So it is still a measure that can be used extensively to fight COVID and other respiratory diseases as we work through this period of winter…the winter season I should say.”

In the past week, one person succumbed to COVID-19, but no deaths due to the flu have been recorded.

CMO Dr George added, “The flu virus, fortunately, we have not had any hospitalisations or deaths associated with the flu virus, but we continue to examine the information and will report to you the public with respect to if there are any changes in that trajectory.” To this end though, he is urging persons who are more at-risk, the vulnerable groups to take the necessary precautions. “The message is personal responsibility. We will continue to work with you every step of the way. Let me assure the public the ministry has not taken its eye off of COVID.”