NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The country’s first COVID-19 patient, a 61-year-old Bahamian woman, will have to undergo a number of follow up tests before she can interact with the public, according to Health Minister Dr Duane Sands.
“We are very pleased with her recovery, we wish her well, we wish her family well,” said Sands during a recent interview on ILTV’s Beyond the Headlines with Clint Watson.
“The World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines suggest that even after convalesces that there should be another 14-day period and then we follow that up with sequential to confirm that you are no longer shedding the virus.
“So she will have a number of tests. When those tests are consecutively negative then we can say you are free to interact with the public.”
Eyewitness News reported that the patient tested positive for COVID-19 after visiting both the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) and the Fleming Street Clinic on Deveaux Street in early March.
Doctors and nurses stationed at the clinic and the Accident and Emergency Department of PMH were asked to self-quarantine for 14 days.
WHO has declared the global spread of the virus a pandemic.
As of yesterday, officials confirmed ten cases of the virus in the county – nine in New Providence and one in Grand Bahama.
While elderly people are believed to have a higher risk of severe illness, people of all ages can be infected by the virus.
On Thursday, a 16-year old girl named “Julie A” became France’s youngest coronavirus victim, according to officials.
On Monday, a prominent 30-year-old journalist in Zimbabwe became that country’s first COVID-19 death.
According to reports, journalist Zororo Makamba was just the country’s second confirmed case.
Meanwhile in Italy, an 86-year-old woman identified as Gianna has made a full recovery after being hospitalized for seven weeks with the virus.
As of yesterday, there were just over 585,000 cases confirmed worldwide.
And while there have been just over 26,800 deaths, there have also been over 129,800 recoveries from the virus.
According to Business Insider, a third of the global population is on coronavirus lockdown in efforts to slow the spread of the virus.
Rapid spread has crippled health systems in many countries.
Public health professionals advise the outbreak can be slowed, if people practice social distancing by limiting their movement and avoiding public spaces and large groups.
This allows the country’s health system to properly treat seriously ill patients, as there is still no cure for the easily transmittable virus.
The daily number of cases would remain at a manageable level for medical providers and “flatten the curve”.
The curve represents the steep increase in the number of cases per day followed by a quick decrease in the number of cases.
However, professionals indicate the flatter the curve, created by a more gradual increase in cases, the more likely it is that healthcare systems can continue to deliver care to people.
Older people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus.
WHO advises people of all ages to take steps to protect themselves from the virus by good hand hygiene and good respiratory hygiene.