CHALLENGED BUT NOT OUT: Virus cases trending downward; more beds being acquired, says health minister

CHALLENGED BUT NOT OUT: Virus cases trending downward; more beds being acquired, says health minister

Wells says govt prepared in event of another COVID surge

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — As hospitalizations surpass the highest numbers recorded since the onset of the pandemic, Minister of Health Renward Wells said yesterday that a potential downward trend is being observed.

He attributed the trend to the number of people exposed since last March, the number of people vaccinated and what he said was widespread adherence to health protocols due to the ongoing surge.

“There is usually an up-and-down circumstance taking place now,” Wells told the media.

“Some days you see it is below 100, and some days it is above, but we are looking at a potential downward trend.”

Minister of Health Renward Wells.

Asked what factors could facilitate a downward trend of cases, Wells said: “I think it is the fact that we have had a lot of Bahamians who have been exposed to COVID, vaccinated and non-vaccinated persons, and after you have had an awful lot of your people exposed, those who can potentially get the disease [are] reduced.

“So, we are vaccinating a whole lot of Bahamians and at the same time, we have a lot of Bahamians exposed.

“We’ve got 3,480 positive with COVID and so, that’s kind of the thinking and the Bahamian people are adhering as much — and I would possibly say even more so now — to the health measures given what we’re now seeing in the third wave.

“Folks are stepping forward and getting vaccinated and folks are adhering to the health measures.”

As of Sunday, 161,613 doses of COVID-19 vaccines had been administered, with 59,002 people being fully vaccinated.

A total of 3,142 of those vaccinated individuals received their jabs abroad.

In the last week, there have been 700 newly confirmed cases, and 47 COVID-19 deaths were reported.

This represents a nearly three percent reduction in cases week-over-week.

Between August 23 and August 30, 720 cases were recorded and 63 deaths were reported.

Princess Margaret Hospital.

Hospitalizations also increased from 170 to 191, of which 105 cases were receiving care at Princess Margaret Hospital — the most cases the institution has had to handle since the onset of the pandemic.

The government is exploring a rapid method of acquiring hospital beds, according to the health minister, who confirmed that the United States donated additional tents to the government that can be converted and outfitted to accommodate COVID-19 patients.

“In the event that we do have another surge of circumstances where we end up with more cases of COVID going forward — but I am truly praying and hoping, based on the measures we would have put in place during the second wave when we didn’t have vaccines that helped us to bend the curve and to flatten the curve — that we would continue with those measures and we would get to see some results,” Well said.

He added that the government will continue to do all it can to ensure the cases trend downward, and closely monitor those hospitalized and the care provided in public institutions.