‘Slow, steady progress in COVID-19 fight’

Health officials are marking a “slow and steady progress” in the fight against COVID-19, which would mean that emergency orders are not necessary after October if this trend continues, according to Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr. Delon Brennen.

The government is proposing to extend the state of emergency to October 31.

Brennen told The Nassau Guardian, “Given the fact that we’re seeing slow and steady progress, if that continues, we may not be at a point where we still require the types of measures that have been put in place past that time.”

He added, “We are all hopeful and if the trend continues then we may not need to go past that time, but if things change, which we all know that this pandemic is very unpredictable, then we will have to re-evaluate, but right now if we can continue on this slow and steady downward trend past October, we should be looking pretty comfortable.”

While there were fewer cases of COVID-19 reported last week, health officials also reported that testing was also down by over 500 tests compared to the previous week. 

Between September 13 and 19, there were 387 reported cases. Between September 6 and 12, there were 422 reported cases.

There were 1,926 tests completed between September 13 and 19, compared to 2,443 between September 6 and 12.

The data was gleaned from the Ministry of Health’s daily COVID-19 dashboards.

New cases were down on New Providence, where the majority of COVID-19 cases are located, with 319 recorded last week, compared to 380 the week before.

On August 14, Brennen had spoken of the need for a complete lockdown. At the time, New Providence had a case count of 570 and there was a total of 1,119 confirmed cases with 961 active.

He said The Bahamas would find itself in a position “where it is difficult to suppress the spike” in cases if it continues to take “this approach where we are partly on lockdown”.

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said recently he does not foresee any further lockdowns.

In the House of Assembly last week, he also appealed to Bahamians to be patient for another three weeks and follow the health protocols.

While not responding directly to the prime minister, Brennen said it is likely COVID-19 will be present in The Bahamas until at least March.

“I think we’re definitely going to be looking at some form of these measures, some form of thinking about how to protect ourselves and wearing masks and sanitization and the like being on the forefront of our minds well into the spring of next year,” he said.

He said the government has to “be smart” about how it moves forward.

Referring to the spike in cases that occurred after The Bahamas reopened its international borders on July 1, Brennen said, “We’ve seen what can happen in country if we do not have the appropriate measures in place. We went from 104 cases to over 3,000 cases.

“So, while people may feel as though it’s stringent, we’ve seen what happens when you don’t take the appropriate measures… We’re working together to make sure we have the appropriate measures in place in order to minimize that increase that is possible when we fully reopen commercial travel and the like in The Bahamas.”

The total case count for The Bahamas is 3,370 with 1,580 active.

Officials yesterday reported 55 additional cases – 51 on New Providence, one on Grand Bahama, one on Abaco, one on Exuma and one with the location pending. 

On Saturday, officials reported 101 additional cases — 69 on New Providence, eight on Grand Bahama, one on Exuma and 23 with locations pending.

Thirty-seven cases were reported on Friday — 34 on New Providence, two on Eleuthera and one on Abaco.

There have been 74 total confirmed deaths and 18 deaths are under investigation.

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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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