The first death was that of a 53 year-old female with a history of chronic noncommunicable diseases. She died at Harrison Point where she had been a patient for 3 days, following a positive PCR test result. Within hours, a 67 year old man died at Enmore after being admitted there from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital the previous day. He too had a history of NCDs.

Minister of Health and Wellness, Lt. Col. Hon Jeffrey Bostic, extended condolences to the mourning families. He also observed, “those who are paying attention to these matters would have noticed that whereas before, the deaths from the virus were occurring amongst senior citizens, in the last few weeks persons in their 40s, 50s and 60s have succumbed to COVID. This underscores the point that persons of every age are vulnerable to this disease. Furthermore, in each case, chronic noncommunicable diseases have been a complicating factor and continue to point to these comorbidities as a risk factor for poor outcomes.”

In the National Press Conference on Covid-19 in Barbados on February 8, before the two passings were reported, in a moment almost of prescience, Medical Officer of Health at the Winston Scott Polyclinic, Dr Omar Edwards, cautioned Barbadians that younger persons were also vulnerable to the disease. He went on to say that those with chronic noncommunicable diseases needed to manage their conditions carefully.

This supported statements made in the Press Conference of the previous day, by Dr Kenneth Connell, Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Medical Sciences of the University of the West Indies. Dr Connell stressed the importance of persons suffering from NCDs taking steps to make themselves safer. He advised such persons to, “monitor your condition, make sure you see your doctor or health care provider, are on an updated and appropriate management plan and get some exercise; it is vitally important that you take your prescribed medication.” He went on to say, “what this pandemic has nakedly exposed is that because of our noncommunicable disease burden in this region, Covid-19 poses particular risk to our populations.”

Barbados’ death toll from Covid-19 now stands at 20.

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