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Govt trying to build hospital bed capacity, Wells says

With 191 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in The Bahamas as of Monday, Minister of Health Renward Wells said work is being done to secure more beds.

“We are challenged, but we are looking at a quick and rapid way to deploy beds if needed,” Wells said.

“We have some tents that were donated to us by the United States government that can be very quickly augmented to be able to assist, whether it’s hurricane, natural disasters, emergencies or in pandemics, but we can outfit them very quickly to be medical facilities.”

Wells said engineers are determining how they can get negative air pressure in the tents “in the event that we do have another surge or circumstance where we end up with more cases of COVID”.

On August 17, officials at both Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) and Doctors Hospital warned that the facilities were overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients and on the brink of collapse.

At the time, 145 people were hospitalized in The Bahamas with COVID-19.

The 191 hospitalizations reported on Monday was the highest number ever reported in the country since the start of the pandemic.

Of the 191 hospitalizations, 105 were at Princess Margaret Hospital; 56 at Doctors Hospital; nine at the South Beach Acute Care and Referral Centre, and 21 at Grand Bahama Health Services.

One hundred and seventy-six people were listed as moderately ill and 15 were in the intensive care unit.

Another seven deaths were recorded Monday, adding to the 34 reported between Friday and Sunday.

The Ministry of Health reported that three women and four men, all from New Providence, died between August 29 and September 3. They ranged in ages from 45 to 67.

The total number of confirmed COVID deaths rose to 453.

Wells again expressed confidence yesterday that cases will soon decrease in The Bahamas.

“But I am confident based on the measures that we put in place … during the second wave when we didn’t have vaccines that helped us to bend the curve and to flatten the curve with COVID that we will continue with those measures and we will get to see some results,” he said.

He continued, “… We are looking at a potential downward trend and hopefully it continues in that direction.”

Asked to explain the rationale behind his prediction, Wells said he believes many Bahamians are acquiring immunity through either vaccines or contracting the virus.

“I think it’s the fact that we have had a lot of Bahamians who have been exposed to COVID, vaccinated and non-vaccinated persons,” he said.

“And after you have had an awful lot of your people exposed, those who can potentially get the disease are reduced.” 

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Rachel Scott

Rachel joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2019. Rachel covers national issues. Education: University of Virginia in Charlottesville, BA in Foreign Affairs and Spanish

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