Bahamas positive COVID-19 higher than most of region

With an apparent COVID-19 test positivity rate of nearly 20 percent, The Bahamas has roughly four times the maximum rate recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) for reopening.

The percentage suggests not nearly enough testing is being done in the country.

In May, the WHO recommended that the positivity rate remain below five percent for two weeks or more before reopening is considered.

As of Sunday, there were 2,167 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in The Bahamas. The COVID-19 dashboard said 11,093 tests were completed.

The numbers indicate that 19.54 percent of tests have been positive.

At a Ministry of Health press conference on Friday, health officials said the number of tests includes multiple tests given to the same person. Therefore, it remains unclear how many people tested positive for COVID-19 in The Bahamas, and if the positivity rate is even higher than 20 percent.

Health officials, however, insisted that The Bahamas is ready for reopening, even as cases and deaths climb, and cases continue to be recorded on islands where there previously were none.

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Pearl McMillan said there are risks associated with both reopening and not reopening.

Regionally, compared to countries and territories where testing data is provided, The Bahamas’ positivity rate was second, only to Turks and Caicos, which had a rate of nearly 21 percent, with 507 confirmed cases and 2,429 tests completed as of Sunday.

More tests have been completed in Barbados, where 173 people have tested positive for COVID-19, than in The Bahamas. With 17,067 tests completed as of Sunday, Barbados’ test positivity rate was one percent.

In Trinidad and Tobago, 1,683 cases were confirmed as of Sunday, and 20,507 tests were completed. Trinidad’s testing numbers were adjusted for people being tested more than once, and resulted in a positivity rate of 8.2 percent.

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Rachel Knowles

Rachel joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2019. Rachel covers national issues. Education: University of Virginia in Charlottesville, BA in Foreign Affairs and Spanish

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