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Cases hit 21

There are now 21 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in The Bahamas. Among them is one deceased person who was confirmed to have the disease, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis announced yesterday.

These cases include 16 on New Providence, four on Grand Bahama and one from Bimini.

“Some specialists predict that the United States will lose between 100,000 and 200,000 individuals,” said Minnis at a press conference at the Office of the Prime Minister.

“We have already lost one, and in our population, that is one too many.”

Minnis said one of the new cases on New Providence has a link to Grand Bahama. He said the eastern end of New Providence has been identified as a hotspot for the novel coronavirus.

“We will be vigorously stepping up enforcement of the curfew in hotspots,” Minnis said.

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Pearl McMillan said a total of eight COVID-19 patients are hospitalized, three of whom are among the new cases.

“They are all doing well,” she said. “They are stable. We don’t have any who we have an excessive amount of concern.”

Minnis also confirmed that Kim Johnson-Rolle, a Bimini resident who died on the way to New Providence on Monday, tested positive for COVID-19.

“The family has been informed,” Minnis said.

“Contact tracing has begun.”

Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands said it took 24 hours for the victim to be airlifted to New Providence.

Minnis said yesterday the matter is under investigation.

The prime minister pleaded with Bahamians to take the curfew and social distancing seriously.

“Our greatest tool in the fight against this virus is following the public health advice to be physically distant from one another,” he said.

“There is no vaccine for this virus yet. There is no cure.”

He said a schedule for grocery shopping will be released by the end of this week to help better enforce social distancing practices.

Minnis said Bahamians must prepare not only for the battle against COVID-19, but also for the economic battle brought on by it.

“To find ways to stimulate our economy now and in order to create a masterplan to rebuild our economy and to promote our social development, I will convene a high-level group of economic and other experts to provide concrete ideas and plans to the government of The Bahamas,” he said.

Minnis also announced that a rent assistance program will also soon be implemented.

“We will only overcome through unity of purpose and God’s guidance and grace,” Minnis said.

He added, “We will only win these battles together.”

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