‘Holiday spike’

Wells: Recent rise in COVID numbers likely linked to independence gatherings

The recent spike in COVID-19 cases is likely linked to gatherings during the Independence Day weekend, according to Minister of Health Renward Wells.

“This has been a roller coaster ride in regards to positive testing for COVID,” Wells said yesterday.

“We entered the third wave then we had a dip for about two or three weeks and then we had a surge. Usually, there is a little uptick in cases about … 14 days out of any sort of major holiday.

“We’ve just come through the entire weekend of independence and so folks would’ve gotten together in groups, on beaches, in homes celebrating our independence.

“Obviously, we would have expected, given the fact that we’ve had positive cases in the country, that there would’ve been an uptick. We’re going to be looking over this week – assessing the data and then seeing where we are, whether we do have defined clusters or anything new that is developing.”

The Bahamas confirmed 950 new cases so far this month.

Of that figure, 465 cases were confirmed between July 12 and July 19.

Shortly after the first case was confirmed in March 2020, the governor general declared a state of emergency. The state of emergency, which is ongoing, empowers the prime minister, as the competent authority, to impose restrictions, including nightly curfews and weekend lockdowns, to curb the spread of the virus.

Over the last year, on the advice of health officials, the prime minister imposed tighter restrictions whenever there were spikes in cases.

However, Wells said yesterday that health officials have not recommended additional restrictions despite the recent spike.

“We have our emergency meetings on Wednesdays,” he said.

“Last week Wednesday, we had one and this week Wednesday, we’re going to have one. I will look to see what the recommendations are tomorrow. But so far, there have not been any recommendations outside of what was recommended for Bimini for tighter restrictions. So we’re continuing to move forward under the existing COVID protocols, existing curfew times.

New Providence and Abaco are under an 11 p.m. to. 5 a.m. curfew.

Grand Bahama is under a midnight to 5 a.m. curfew.

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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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