Ministry of Health reports ‘notable decrease’ in new COVID cases

Two days before Bahamians head to the polls to vote on Election Day, the Ministry of Health said there has been a “notable decrease” in the number of new COVID-19 cases reported since the middle of August because of the government’s “aggressive vaccination campaign”.

“… The number of COVID-19 cases began to plateau during the first two weeks of August 2021,” the ministry said in a statement.

“It is noteworthy to mention that for the next four weeks or four reporting cycles, there was a decrease in the number of COVID-19 cases. This result has been the effect of the aggressive vaccination campaign implemented by the government.

“It was previously predicted that once a reasonable percentage of citizens and residents become vaccinated, such a result would be experienced.”

There were 336 COVID cases in January; 335 in February; 613 in March; 1,262 in April; 1,345 in May; 871 in June; 2,185 in July, 3,450 in August, and 1,230 so far in September.

The ministry said between January 1 and September 12, more than 11,500 COVID cases and 302 deaths were reported.

A total of 173,130 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered. Sixty-five thousand, nine hundred and fifteen people are fully vaccinated. 

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis will speak to the COVID situation today, the ministry said. 

“… The Ministry of Health will host a press conference to provide the public with a COVID-19 update next week,” it said.

While the number of new COVID cases decreased over the last few weeks, hospitalizations continue to reach all-time highs.

As of September 13, 182 people were in hospital with COVID.

Last week, the country hit a record when 190 people were hospitalized.

The ministry said it expects that as COVID-19 cases continue to decrease, there will be a decline in the hospitalizations reported.

“As the cases continue to decrease, it is also expected that the number of deaths will decrease,” the ministry said.

“The Ministry of Health extends its sympathy to the families who have suffered great loss during the third wave of this vicious pandemic.”

As of September 13, 467 people died because of COVID-19.

The ministry’s statement failed to mention that the country’s test positivity rate, which was 70 percent on September 12 and 19 percent on September 13, was significantly higher than the five percent the World Health Organization (WHO) says is an indicator that the infection is under control. 

On Friday, healthcare workers at Princess Margaret Hospital sounded the alarm that the system is in crisis due to the surge in COVID cases.

“We are physically, mentally, and emotionally burnt out,” Dr. Crystal Wells from PMH’s Accident and Emergency Department said.

“People are dying from COVID-19 and we cannot sustain what is happening in terms of our healthcare and providing care.

“We cannot continue like this.”

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Travis Cartwright-Carroll

Travis Cartwright-Carroll is the assistant editor. He covers a wide range of national issues. He joined The Nassau Guardian in 2011 as a copy editor before shifting to reporting. He was promoted to assistant news editor in December 2018. Education: College of The Bahamas, English

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