BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – Chief Medical Officer Dr. Kenneth George Thursday evening disclosed that Barbados has recorded its first case of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
Health authorities here received confirmation from the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) Laboratory, he said.
To date, that is the only confirmed case we have. However, I must couch that by saying that we have been doing testing, preliminary sequencing at the [local] Best-Dos Santos Laboratory and there is also preliminary evidence is Omicron is established in Barbados,” Dr. George said, although declining to disclose where the person who tested positive for the variant was from.
“We do not need to panic. We have come this road before,” he added.
The Chief Medical Officer suggested it was no surprise that Barbados had now joined the list of countries recording the presence of Omicron.
“We have been consistently saying to the public within the last two to three weeks that the likelihood of Omicron being within our borders was high. We had a reason for saying this because the experience in several other countries across the globe indicated that the virus spreads extremely rapidly within communities and therefore Barbados was not going to be spared,” he pointed out.
Dr. George added that the Ministry of Health has sent “carefully selected” samples to CARPHA lab and the results are expected in seven to ten days.
“Once we have this information we will share it with the public,” he said.
Meantime, the CMO expressed concern that cases of COVID-19 in Barbados are trending upwards.
He, therefore, urged residents to continue to protect themselves by wearing masks at all times in public spaces and when in close quarters with others; observe physical distancing; sanitize frequently; and get vaccinated and/or booster shots.