69 new cases of COVID-19

A record-breaking 69 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed on Friday, according to Minister of Health Renward Wells.

This new single-day record brought the total number of cases in The Bahamas to 830. Of the new cases, there were 31 on Grand Bahama, 30 on New Providence, seven on Abaco and one on the Berry Islands.

Wells said there are a total of 719 active cases of COVID-19, including 30 hospitalizations.

“With increasing hospitalizations, the country must brace itself to experience more deaths from COVID-19,” Wells said during a press conference.

So far, 14 people have died from COVID-19, but health officials are investigating the deaths of three additional people who tested positive for COVID-19.

“We are at a critical point in the nation,” Wells said as he noted the strain the pandemic has had on the public health care system.

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Pearl McMillan said 30 healthcare workers are COVID-19 positive.

“This 30 has exceeded the number that we had in the first wave,” she said.

“All healthcare facilities, including the Princess Margaret Hospital, Sandilands Rehabilitation Center, community clinics throughout New Providence and the Rand Memorial (Hospital) have been impacted.

Yesterday, the Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) confirmed that 23 individuals in the Male Ward at Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre tested positive for COVID-19. The PHA said the patients tested positive after a staff member, who worked across three wards at SRC, tested positive for the virus.

Addressing today’s press conference, Dr. McMillan added: “Our healthcare system capacity is challenged to respond to this steep rise in cases and persons under investigation. Over such a short period of time, our acute care units, as well as hospital beds are about to exceed capacity.”

This comes as healthcare workers continue to agitate for more stringent COVID-19 protocols at public facilities and personal protective equipment.

Speaking to healthcare workers, the minister said, “your frustrations have not fallen on the wayside.”

He said the government has ensured that personal protective equipment are available or front line workers.

“All of The Bahamas should be aware that we approached the COVID-19 battle handicapped,” Wells continued. “We are seeking to correct decades-old infrastructure in many facilities of health. In order to avoid the collapse of our healthcare system, we have been constrained to institute lockdowns.”

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Krystel Brown

Krystel covers breaking news for The Nassau Guardian. Krystel also manages The Guardian’s social media pages. She joined The Nassau Guardian in 2007 as a staff reporter, covering national news. She was promoted to online editor in May 2017. Education: Benedict College, BA in Mass Communications

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