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COVID-19 cases surge

Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands yesterday announced four new cases of COVID-19 on New Providence, bringing the country’s total to nine.

“Only one had recent travel history,” Sands said.

“And that case had traveled to the Dominican Republic on March 13.

“All of the most recently confirmed four cases are in home isolation and they are being closely monitored by healthcare professionals. They do not require hospitalization at this time.”

Sands said that as of yesterday, none of the nine patients were in a hospital. The first patient was hospitalized but discharged earlier this week.

Dr. Merceline Dahl-Regis, an infectious disease consultant with the Ministry of Health, said the four new cases are not related to any of the previous five.

She said two of the new cases, however, are close friends.

Dahl-Regis said the various clusters in the country are indicative that there is community spread.

“We now can establish that we have community transmission…based on the cases, the contacts and where the contacts are and the length of time of the onset of the symptoms,” she said.

She added, “We have been in the preparatory phase in the last, I would say three of four days, for a surge. We are now on the surge, as far as our population.”

Speaking after the press conference, Dahl-Regis said that so far, approximately 200 people were identified as contacts of the first four patients. Sands said contact tracing for the other five is still ongoing.

Sands said that, so far, 175 people have been tested for COVID-19 in the country. He said there are currently 2,300 test kits in the country.

Sands yesterday urged Bahamians to stay home, warning that people will die if they don’t.

“Our success as a people in the fight against this virus will be determined by how well we follow health guidance and the emergency powers orders,” Sands said at a Ministry of Health press conference.

“If we do, we will reduce the impact. Fewer cases spread out over more time allows the healthcare system to care for the sick.

“If we do not listen, the virus will spread and more people will get sick and some may die.

“Our healthcare system will be overwhelmed, just as we are seeing currently in many rich and developed countries. When healthcare systems are overcome by a surge of critically-ill COVID-19 patients, many deaths occur.”

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