‘The Bahamas is making progress’

The Bahamas is showing promising signs of progress in the fight against COVID-19, Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Representative to The Bahamas Dr. Esther de Gourville said yesterday. 

“The Bahamas is making progress in the outbreak,” she said.

“You have to look into the details of the trends in the outbreak.”

While de Gourville noted that there have been no extended periods of time without new reported cases, as seen in other countries in the region, there have been fewer new cases on New Providence. However, she noted that Bimini is a new problem area.

“Even within the last week or two, the longest period we went without new cases was three days,” she said.

“And then we had an upsurge in cases, but those cases do not represent the trends that we’ve seen before, but those cases represented an expansion of the outbreak in Bimini, which now represents a new hotspot for us, whereas previously, the cases were expanding in New Providence.”

She added, “In the Caribbean, we have countries like Trinidad and Tobago having gone 12 days without new cases; St. Kitts 19 days; Suriname 36 days; Dominica 29 days; Belize 25 days. I hope that, over time, The Bahamas will join those countries in bringing the outbreak under control and reporting no new cases.”

de Gourville said one way to see the progress in the country is examining the percentage of COVID-19 tests that are positive.

“At the initial stage of the outbreak, many of the tests that were done, although they were low in number, came back positive,” she said.

“To date, we have close to I believe 1,626 tests done, but only 93 of those have been positive.”

She added, “The situation is not dire as you see in other parts of the world where people are not testing in sufficient numbers.”

She also noted that new cases have been related to other known cases in the country.

“In The Bahamas, we have sporadic cases and cases in healthcare workers,” she said.

“In the U.S., in many states, you have what is described as community spread where you can find cases that are not linked to any other case that you’ve detected.

“In addition, with the testing, the strategy in The Bahamas is to give highest priority to testing persons who are symptomatic. And this testing priority is necessary because internationally, the logistic support for testing is problematic.

“There are simply not enough test kits available in enough numbers to be distributed internationally.”

Eleven people have died of COVID-19 in The Bahamas, and as of yesterday, there were 93 confirmed cases in the country – 73 on New Providence, 11 on Bimini, eight on Grand Bahama and one on Cat Cay.

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Rachel Knowles

Rachel joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2019. Rachel covers national issues. Education: University of Virginia in Charlottesville, BA in Foreign Affairs and Spanish

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