Govt exploring relief accommodations for health care workers

Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands said yesterday the government is considering establishing “relief accommodations” to house at least 100 health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are mindful that our health care workers have families,” Sands said.

“No one is safe at home if someone in the house is serving on the frontline and, so, to ease this concern, my ministry is exploring relief accommodations that can house at least 100 health care workers.

“Such accommodations will permit these workers to rest up in between shifts, take showers, sleep before returning to their homes. We plan to give further updates on these accommodations soon.”

The minister said the government is “keenly aware of the heightened vulnerability” of health care workers during the pandemic.

Sands noted that almost one in every five confirmed COVID-19 cases in The Bahamas were health care workers.

“Among these confirmed positive COVID-19 patients, two have had to be hospitalized and as we have heard, tragically, one has died,” he said.

“What is more worrisome is that more than 50 health care workers have been identified as contacts of diagnosed or confirmed cases. These health care workers are, currently, in quarantine and are being monitored for the development of symptoms.

“Clearly, if more health care workers are removed from the available pool, there will be no soldiers left to fight the COVID war. And, so, we must protect our frontline workers. The best way to do this, Mr. Speaker, is for all of us to stay at home.”

So far, 33 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in The Bahamas. Five have recovered. Five have died.

The latest four cases were announced yesterday.

These include a 54-year-old woman; a 50-year-old man; a 62-year-old woman and a 65-year-old woman. They are all residents of New Providence with no travel history, according to health officials.

Speaking earlier in the day before the latest cases were announced, Sands noted that three COVID-19 patients were “very ill,” eight were stable and two were candidates for discharge.

“Fourteen of the 29 confirmed cases presented with mild symptoms and did not meet the threshold for hospitalization,” Sands said.

“These persons are in home isolation, and daily monitored by the surveillance team for any change in their clinical status, their breathing status, their temperature, and other things.

“Of those requiring home isolation, 10 cases have completed 14 days of isolation, since their symptoms began.”

More than 300 contacts have been identified by the surveillance unit, according to the minister.

Health officials did not provide any information on the status of the four new cases announced yesterday evening.

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