As new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to climb to new highs, Dr. Nikkiah Forbes, director of the National HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Programme said yesterday that this is the worst situation the country has been in with COVID to date and if something is not done it will get worse.
The Ministry of Health said yesterday that 130 new COVID-19 cases were reported on July 27.
Hospitalizations also jumped from 93 to 100, the most for the year.
Additionally, a 58-year-old man from Bimini died from COVID on July 26. He became the 286th person to die from the virus in The Bahamas. The ministry also said that an additional death is under investigation.
More than 1,700 new COVID cases have been confirmed so far this month, the most cases reported in a single month this year.
Dr. Forbes said the situation is “dire”.
“I can share with you that the hospital is overcapacity,” she said.
“That all of the COVID care centers are well overcapacity.
“This outbreak in the country is a dire situation with the number of cases, it’s very high.
“The average number of cases per week is, I believe, at its all-time high.
“And the positivity rate is very high and deaths are continuing and hospitalizations are above capacity.
“That speaks to the situation about the COVID outbreak in the country.
“We are well past the time where mitigation strategies must be put in place now.”
She said the country did not get here overnight.
“We have been in the third for quite some time,” she said.
“There are measures that can be implemented to help to mitigate COVID outbreaks and those things include, following public health measures …
“So to be honest with you, if you are having 100 cases per day and each of those cases have multiple contacts, this gets harder for the health system and healthcare workers and surveillance to wrap their hands around this. So, people have to follow these measures.
“But, in the face of COVID fatigue with persons not following those measures, there are other strategies. There are workplace strategies, there is enabling testing with quick turnaround with quick results.
“But when you see that there is poor adherence … when that is not effective then that is where countries worldwide are faced with implementing restrictive measures. That is just the reality of the situation.
“So currently, right now, and I want to be calm and direct, this is the worst situation that we’ve been in with COVID to date and if something is not done it will continue to get worse.”
Of the 130 new cases, 95 were reported on New Providence; 13 on Eleuthera; 10 on Abaco; six on Grand Bahama; four on Exuma; one on Bimini and Cat Cay and one location was pending.
Six of the new cases traveled within the last 14 days. Sixty-three are men, 66 women and the sex of one case was “unknown”.
There have been 14,457 cases of the virus since last year.
There are 1,574 active cases of COVID with 12,501 cases listed as recovered.
A total of 549 tests were conducted on July 27.
Health officials in the country have said that both Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) and Doctors Hospital are at or nearing capacity.
On Tuesday, Doctors Hospital CEO Dr. Charles Diggiss said that the hospital is in crisis as it nears capacity to house and ventilate COVID patients.
Doctors Hospital has the capacity to house no more than 30 COVID patients for “the whole health system to be safe”, according to Diggiss.
As of July 27, the Ministry of Health said 21 COVID patients were at Doctors, with eight of those cases in the intensive care unit.
PMH Administrator Mary Lightbourne-Walker and Medical Chief of Staff Dr. Caroline Burnett-Garraway have said that the hospital is in “emergency mode” and at a “breaking point”.
Lightbourne-Walker said PMH is inundated with patients who are younger and more ill.
“Right now, these persons that are coming, they are stretcher cases in the ambulance,” she said.
“They don’t have the energy to sit up and they are fighting for their next breath. That is the severity of the infections that we are seeing now.”