Additional restrictions necessary, CPSA head says

While noting that The Bahamas’ healthcare system has collapsed, Consultant Physicians Staff Association President Dr. Sabriquet Pinder-Butler said yesterday the implementation of additional restrictions is “very, very necessary” to alleviate the burden on hospitals and help save lives as the COVID-19 situation deteriorates further.

Pinder-Butler said the implementation of restrictions and discussions with frontline healthcare workers should be “a high priority” for whichever administration is elected on Thursday.

“We know that the healthcare system is beyond capacity,” she said.

“We know that there are challenges with the staffing. We know that, potentially, there may also be further burdens as it relates to COVID cases related to election itself, and so, certainly, we know that we would not be able to perhaps determine what that will look like until possibly another two weeks post-these events, which may mean that the country will be in a worse state than we’re in now.

“So, certainly, whichever government is the government of the day come September 17, would need to urgently meet with the stakeholders to discuss the way forward. We know that preventative measures have worked in the past.

“You know that restrictive measures are used by us and by other countries, and we know that they’ve also worked certainly as it relates to alleviating the pressure that’s on your healthcare system that’s already overwhelmed.”

She said alleviating the pressure from the healthcare system is “absolutely critical at this time”.

Pinder-Butler said restrictive measures and preventative measures go hand in hand.

“One cannot go without the other,” she said.

“We’ve been reiterating that all along. We can’t have curfews and other things in place and then open the borders. They don’t match. We can’t have curfews and still not ensure that persons are wearing their masks and social distancing and all of those things. It goes against each other.

“Any gap in the circle, for all of those things to work, is a breach and I think that’s where we have had the challenges because we have not been able to make sure that we have tied up all of our ends.”

The Bahamas is struggling with its worst surge in cases since the start of the pandemic.

The Ministry of Health confirmed 1,141 new cases between September 1 and September 12.

As of Sunday, 187 people were hospitalized with the virus.

Pinder-Butler said she hopes the current surge ends as soon as possible.

“At the end of the day, people are still getting COVID,” she said.

“People are dying every day from COVID and other things because our healthcare system has collapsed. That in itself should be concerning to all of us who need to understand that we really need to get back to addressing what some might not want to address because it may seem like a difficult thing to do.

“It probably is, but at the end of the day, we have to get it done.  It’s not going to go away by itself. It’s not just going to fade away in the sunset. We certainly aren’t seeing sunset moments at this time.”

A recent poll conducted by Bahamian research firm Open Current found that nearly 45 percent of individuals surveyed would support the implementation of a one-week lockdown and nearly 55 percent would support weekend lockdowns given the COVID situation in country.

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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