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COVID case uptick in Family Islands

Medical teams seeking to identify clusters

Several Family Islands are grappling with increased cases of COVID-19.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness reported 689 new cases between October 2 and October 15. Of that figure, 133 cases were reported on the Family Islands, excluding Grand Bahama.

Eleuthera and Long Island reported the most cases during that period. 

Eleuthera reported 43 cases and Long Island reported 29.

North Eleuthera MP Sylvanus Petty described the COVID situation on Eleuthera as an “alarming concern”.

Lynton Pinder Jr., the administrator for the area, said officials are monitoring the situation and communicating with health officials.

“This office is not able to confirm statistics, but we are aware of the increase in cases,” he said yesterday.

“Healthcare professionals are doing what they can to manage the increase in cases and treat patients. We continue to remind and encourage the general public to practice the health and safety protocols established by the Ministry of Health.”

Inagua reported 13 cases over the last two weeks, Abaco recorded 13 cases, Exuma six cases, Cat Island five cases, Andros five cases and the Berry Islands two cases.

Seven cases were reported on Crooked Island during that period and an additional nine were reported in the October 16 COVID-19 daily dashboard, which was released by the ministry yesterday.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness did not address the uptick in cases on the islands when it released a statement last night.

However, it noted that it has dispatched COVID-19 surveillance and enforcement units to Inagua, North Eleuthera, and the Berry Islands “with the intention to review COVID-19 cases, tighten surveillance protocols and better support those who need to isolate and quarantine”.

“In the next few days, Minister [of Health and Wellness Dr. Michael] Darville and his medical team will continue visits to the Family Islands with identified clusters to further assess conditions and meet with local professionals and residents about the way forward,” the ministry said.

“We remind residents of the affected Family Islands that the delta variant is highly transmissible and that they should limit interactions with those outside of their households at this time.

“The COVID virus is largely airborne, which means outside is safer than inside, and masks – when worn properly – remain a crucial barrier to inhalation of virus particles.”

The ministry urged the public to continue to follow health protocols.

The statement came after the former Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis lashed out at the Davis administration for leading “a disastrous, incompetent and chaotic” response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There are reports of rising case numbers and deaths on a number of Family Islands, which have limited capacity to deal with severe cases,” Minnis said.

“Because of limited oxygen supplies, no ventilators and no intensive care units on our islands, except New Providence and Grand Bahama, it is critical to stop the spread of the virus as quickly as possible on the Family Islands.”

The Bahamas has reported 21,978 cases since March 2020.

It has also reported 626 COVID-19 deaths.

Of that figure, 71 deaths were reported in the last two weeks.

Eight of those deaths were confirmed on the Family Islands — two on Inagua, two on Long Island, one on Eleuthera, one on Andros, one on Mayaguana and one on Cat Island.

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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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