As she noted that there is no more space in healthcare facilities for COVID-19 patients, Consultant Physicians Staff Association (CPSA) President Dr. Sabriquet Pinder-Butler said healthcare workers continue to be exposed to COVID-19 and experience burnout.
She called for a zero-tolerance approach to people who do not abide by measures to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Officials reported 110 new cases of the virus on Wednesday. Seventy-nine people were hospitalized.
“Given that our main healthcare facilities have no more space for COVID-19 positive persons and our health care teams are stretched beyond measure, the CPSA recommends a zero-tolerance approach for persons who do not wear masks in public, abide by quarantine orders, or worse, go out in public while sick or knowing that they are COVID positive,” Pinder-Butler said in a statement.
“We cannot afford to lose any more of our physicians, nurses or other
healthcare members to COVID-19 nor to physical and mental exhaustion.”
She added, “We are also disheartened by the alarming increase in patient deaths related to COVID-19, as well as the recent loss of our nursing colleague who worked along with our healthcare team at the Sandilands Rehabilitation Center.”
Her comments came days after Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis announced a gradual reopening of the country, even as cases and deaths continue to increase. He said the decision was based on the advice of health officials.
The announcement came only one week after he announced an immediate lockdown of New Providence, but quickly reversed it following widespread backlash.
Prior to the July 1 reopening of borders, The Bahamas had 104 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 11 people had died.
Since then, nearly 2,000 cases have been recorded. Forty-eight people are listed as dead due to COVID-19, but health officials also include cases that are still under investigation.
Pinder-Butler said she hopes the relevant authorities learned lessons from the first attempt at reopening, as she said the exponential surge in cases since The Bahamas’ borders were reopened in July has resulted in a “significant strain on our health care workers”.
“We are hopeful, as healthcare workers and as long-suffering residents of The Bahamas, that lessons were learnt from the prior reopening attempt, and that the relevant authorities would make the best effort – with proper consultation with all stakeholders – to protect our borders, monitor public health and social compliance, and secure our economic future as a sovereign nation,” she said.
She added, “…The CPSA feels obligated to publicly appeal to, and reach the citizens in The Bahamas that we have sworn an oath to serve. This pandemic will not come to an end any time soon.”