55 new cases

The Bahamas recorded a staggering 55 new COVID-19 cases yesterday — the highest ever reported in the country in a single day since the start of the pandemic.

This brings to 170 the number of confirmed cases in The Bahamas in just over two weeks.

Grand Bahama, which began a two-week lockdown last night, recorded 39 new confirmed cases yesterday; New Providence recorded five; Bimini, four; Cat Cay, three; Moore’s Island, three; and Great Guana Cay one.

Grand Bahama has recorded the most COVID-19 cases in the country since the start of the pandemic. Its total case count stands at 120, compared to the 119 reported on New Providence.

Prior to July 8, Grand Bahama had eight confirmed cases and had not reported a single COVID-19 case since May 5.

The country has recorded more confirmed COVID-19 cases over the last five days than it has over a four-month period.

According to health officials 3,845 tests have been completed to date.

The Ministry of Health’s (MOH) daily dashboard showed 13 hospitalizations yesterday. There were 170 active cases and 91 recovered cases.

The dashboard

Over the past few days, as the cases continued to drastically increase, the daily dashboard and the accompanying press release by the MOH have been called into question.

While the number of cases per island were stated, the documents did not clearly break down which patients were in hospital, who was in home isolation or who all had a history of recent travel. On Tuesday, the dashboard was not released until minutes before midnight.

The MOH has not held a press conference all week and the address made by the new minister of health in Parliament yesterday gave no updates on the various cases and case trends.

The competent authority

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis met with health officials last evening for a briefing on the situation.

Both Minnis and Minister of Tourism and Aviation Dionisio D’Aguilar have said the recent uptick in cases is the result of Bahamians traveling out of the country and returning. But, again, no travel details have been provided for the vast majority of the 170 cases reported since July 8.

In Parliament yesterday, Minnis said that had the government made a firm decision to prevent Bahamians from traveling, the country would have been in a better position.

“But to make such a decision would have been considered unconstitutional,” Minnis said.

“I would have been accused or the government would have been accused of being the most dictatorial government. We would have been accused and I would have been accused of an abuse of power. But power is only abused when used unnecessarily, but when it is used for the correct purpose, it is not abused.”

The prime minister announced on Sunday that commercial travel will not be allowed from anywhere outside the country except Canada, the United Kingdom and the European Union.

According to John’s Hopkins University, there have been over 15.4 million confirmed novel coronavirus cases and over 631,000 deaths worldwide.

Eleven people have died from COVID-19 in The Bahamas.

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