Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands assured yesterday that there are sufficient ventilators to deal with the potential spread of COVID-19 in The Bahamas.
“We have looked at the inventory of ventilators,” he said.
“I’m afraid I didn’t add up the numbers on the list today. Certainly, we have ordered an additional 15 or 18 ventilators. We believe that there is an excellent match between the anticipated clinical challenges and the available medical staff, even if we were considering augmenting that medical staff.”
Sands said the availability of protective gear for medical staff is also not a concern.
“We recognized that this was something that could potentially be a problem, so several weeks ago we started to identify N-95 masks, surgical masks, gloves, gowns, etc.,” he said.
“And so, we now have a more than adequate supply, not just for healthcare workers, but for immigration, defense force, police officers and so on and so forth.
“We are calculating the burn rate to see how long an inventory that we have. And we have more than many weeks’ supply. We anticipate that this week we are going to have huge additions to that supply.”
Across the globe, outbreaks of COVID-19 have challenged healthcare systems, with shortages of beds and equipment emerging as major problems in some countries.
Italy, in particular, has suffered from shortages, with the country’s death toll from COVID-19 having surpassed that of mainland China where the virus emerged late last year.
So far, there are four confirmed cases of COVID-19 in The Bahamas. Sands, however, said the government is preparing for a potential surge in cases.
He said a special facility has been set up at the Rand Memorial Hospital in Freeport for the potential treatment of patients there.
“The Public Hospitals Authority responsible for acute care services in Grand Bahama has completed the construction of a special COVID facility at the Rand Memorial Hospital,” he said.