Health officials expected to discuss lifting mask mandate on Family Islands with zero active cases
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — While New Providence continues to record the vast majority of coronavirus cases in this latest surge, which some health authorities have characterized as a fifth wave, new infections have begun to rear on some of the Family Islands that were previously unimpacted for months.
The Bahamas recorded another 33 positive cases on Tuesday.
Twenty-one of these were recorded on New Providence.
Another seven were recorded on Bimini and Cat Cay, two on Grand Bahama, one on the Berry Islands and one on Cat Island.
An additional case had a pending location.
Just three of the cases had a history of travel in the last 14 days, a contrast to the ratio of imported cases in recent weeks, which was nearing 50 percent in late April and early May.
Hospitalizations, a key indicator of the healthcare sector’s ability to handle the surge, remained at 23.
There were no cases with severe illness and being treated in Intensive Care Units.
As of Tuesday, there were 933 active cases. Another 72 cases have recovered.
There have been 35,132 cases since the onset of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, a total of 138 RT-PCR tests were performed on Tuesday.
Of these, eight were repeated tests.
This reflects a case positivity rate of 25 percent, though health officials have said the case positivity average over a period of time is a better indication of the actual positivity rate.
Cases more than tripled in May compared to April.
Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Michael Darville, who has said that the relevant authorities were monitoring trends closely, said last week that he did not see the need for an increase in restriction in this time.
He was responding to questions surrounding whether the government had considered introducing testing for domestic travel from New Providence to other Family Islands.
The minister also advised that health officials, who were expected to meet this week, were still in discussions on lifting the requirement to wear masks in certain settings for some Family Islands that have no active COVID-19 cases.
“It is something that we’re looking into and this Wednesday, the committee will look at it again.”
“One of the things we’re concerned about with the mask mandate is the fact that after you arrive in The Bahamas, there is no more testing until the foreigner or those who are traveling (get tested to go) back to the United States.
“With the spikes that are ongoing and the peaks and troughs that we are seeing with COVID, we are on the verge of we’re going to function with caution.”