50-year-old man is latest to die of COVID-19; cases rise to 54

A 50-year-old man on New Providence was the ninth person to die of COVID-19 in The Bahamas, Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands said yesterday.

Sands also confirmed another case of COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 54.

He noted that the majority of COVID-19 victims in The Bahamas had comorbidities.

“Seven of these nine persons who died had comorbidities or underlying illnesses,” Sands said.

“Four out of the nine, or 44.4 percent of these patients, were obese. Three out of the nine, or 33 percent of the cases, suffered from high blood pressure. Two out of the nine, or 22 percent, experienced asthma. And one out of nine, or 11 percent of the cases, suffered from either sleep apnea, high lipids in the blood, kidney failure and diabetes.

“Our COVID-19 deaths are six times more likely to have comorbidities or underlying medical conditions.”

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Pearl McMillan said 10 COVID-19 patients are hospitalized.

Asked about the high rate of hospitalization of younger cases, Sands said this is likely related to the health of the average Bahamian.

“Many of us, many Bahamians, have a number of medical problems,” he said, citing issues like obesity and diabetes.

He added, “A young person who doesn’t have any medical problems is less likely to get sick than somebody that does have medical problems. And that is probably why in The Bahamas we are seeing young people, as we have seen in the United States, being hospitalized.”

Sands said 892 contacts have been identified, and so far 668 people have been tested in the country.

McMillan said 895 people were in quarantine. At the beginning of the week, fewer than 500 people were in quarantine. McMillan said the steep increase was due to a large number of people being quarantined on Cat Cay after someone there tested positive for COVID-19.

McMillan added that there has been an issue with people not obeying self-quarantine recommendations.

“It has come to our attention that some of the persons who we have asked to self-isolate and self-quarantine are not following what we recommend,” she said.

“So we are actually reviewing and revisiting how we could potentially strengthen that, as we realize that that is a key component of us being able to actually control what is happening as it relates to new cases.”

On Wednesday, Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr. Delon Brennen said 709 of the 712 people who were at the time in quarantine were self-isolating in their homes.

Dr. Merceline Dahl-Regis, health consultant to the prime minister, said yesterday that new measures are being considered to better ensure that people who are told to isolate at home do as they are told.

“The most recent suggestion, recognizing that we don’t have enough ankle bracelets and that would be rather draconian, we are looking at an application that we can use and that’s cost-effective,” she said.

“We recognize that what we’re doing is not working.”

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