COVID-19 cases with unknown locations doubled since new testing requirements

COVID-19 cases with unknown locations doubled since new testing requirements

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The number of coronavirus cases with locations unknown has more than doubled in The Bahamas despite the government requiring public and private health facilities to obtain all relevant information on individuals being tested for COVID-19.

As of October 5, there were 167 cases with ‘pending locations’.

Confirmed cases with pending locations stood at 341 on Wednesday.

This represents an increase of 104 percent.

According to health officials, the number of pending location will not decrease unless the same patients retest with the same date of birth.

Health experts have also acknowledged that without relevant information on these cases, contact tracing becomes hindered.

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis outlined new testing guidelines on October 4 prohibiting laboratories from administering COVID-19 tests unless patients provide all information required by the case identification form.

The measure was introduced as part of the government’s cohort of strategies to reduce the transmission of the virus.

Laboratories have also been required to turn around test results within a maximum of 48 hours.

During a virtual Ministry of Health press conference, Dr Merceline Dahl-Regis, health consultant in the Office of the Prime Minister, once again urged laboratories performing testing to provide completed .case identification forms with all relevant information.

She also urged individuals presenting for testing to restrict their movements until their test results were returned.

“This simple, but effective action can prevent the spread of the virus should you end up testing positive for COVID-19,” Dahl-Regis said.

An example of two confirmed cases in Grand Bahama, had four contacts each, five of which were “high certainty” exposures.

As has been observed in the available Ministry of Health data, positive cases can have as can have multiple social contacts, making the extent of transmission as a result of these infections unclear.

There is a direct link between testing and contact tracing and the spread of the virus.