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‘Every effort was made to get patient to Nassau’

Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands said it took 24 hours for a Bimini woman who died — possibly of COVID-19 — to be airlifted to New Providence on Monday.

Sands said the defense force eventually got her to New Providence, but she died shortly after arrival.

“Every effort was made in order to get this patient to definitive intensive care,” Sands said outside Cabinet.

“And those efforts were ultimately successful, but she arrested shortly after arrival in Nassau.”

He added, “We have been working on this for many weeks now, and there were exigencies about this particular situation that we did not overcome for some 24 hours. I want to say thank you to our Royal Bahamas Defence Force, who would have scrambled vessels and aircraft to bring this patient ultimately to New Providence.”

So far, there are 15 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in The Bahamas — 12 on New Providence and three on Grand Bahama.

Sands said that at this point, there is little that can be done about the healthcare gaps that impact the Family Islands.

“We do not have intensive care units in Acklins, Crooked Island, Bimini, Long Island, Andros, etc., nor are we likely in the foreseeable future to have intensive care units,” he said.

“And so, as we look seriously at the rollout of our national response to COVID, I think we have to be honest. We have to be direct with the Bahamian public to help them understand the implications.”

Sands added, “We have confirmed community transmission in The Bahamas. Everybody needs to pay attention to the principle of hand washing, social distancing, isolation. And if you have any respiratory symptoms at all, fever, cough, call the COVID-19 hotline, because the symptoms can be very subtle.”

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