Positivity rate hits 40 percent
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Bahamas once again saw a record number of COVID-19 cases in a single day with health officials confirming 520 new infections on Thursday.
Of the new cases confirmed, 474 were confirmed on New Providence, 27 on Grand Bahama, four on Abaco, one on Exuma, and one on Crooked Island.
There are 13 cases with locations still pending.
There were 1,303 tests completed within the 24 to 48 hour period, of which 40 percent were positive — 520 positive results, 688 negative results and 92 repeated tests.
This is the largest number of cases recorded in a single day, topping the 330 cases recorded on Christmas Day.
Of the newly confirmed cases, 37 have a history of travel within the last 14 days — 33 on New Providence and four on Grand Bahama.
Hospitalizations have also seen a slight increase in recent days to 26.
There have been 24,996 cases confirmed since the start of the pandemic, 2,269 of them remain active.
The Public Hospitals Authority advised yesterday that the Rand Memorial Hospital (RMH) is reporting a significant increase in the number of individuals presenting to the Emergency Department with COVID-like symptoms.
The PHA advised that individuals experiencing flu-like symptoms should contact the surveillance unit at 807-6634 for guidance regarding their symptoms.
Individuals experiencing moderate-to-severe chest pain, shortness of breath, or other medical emergencies are encouraged to seek treatment at the Accident/Emergency Department.
Health officials have confirmed that the country has entered the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic since it first hit in March 2020.
The latest strain of COVID-19, the Omicron variant, has become the dominant strain in several countries across the world, including the United States.
While samples were sent abroad to confirm whether the strain was in the countries have yet to be confirmed, officials have indicated that they believe the Omicron variant is in The Bahamas.
The government has begun the distribution of medical-grade masks around the country and is expected to launch its free COVID testing program in New Providence in the upcoming days.
Prime Minister Philip Davis has said that curfews and lockdowns are “not on the table” as the country moves to tackle the recent increase in new COVID-19 cases.
However, in an interview with Eyewitness News yesterday former Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis slammed the government for its “inefficiencies” and “poor management” of the pandemic after opening a “free for all” with its policies.
Minnis pointed to the positivity rate of over 40 percent of tests being conducted.
He insisted that the World Health Organization recommend countries maintain an infection rate below five percent, “above that you are running into community spread”.
He described the rapid increase in cases as the virus spreading like mushrooms.
“They need to be honest and upfront to the Bahamian people,” Minnis said.
“It has spread rampant throughout this country and it’s best they warn the Bahamian people so they would know the facts and take the necessary precautions.”
Asked about the government’s decision to hold off on lockdowns, Minnis insisted that when he decided to lock down the country it was during a time where there were no vaccines to protect against the virus.
“We have never reached here,” he added.
“One in two people tested are infected. What it means is invariably any place you walk in this country, somebody in there is infected. And they need to be honest with the Bahamian people and inform them that it is out of control.”