COVID testing, sampling will come to “standstill” until all clear

COVID testing, sampling will come to “standstill” until all clear
NEMA Director Captain Stephen Russell (FILE PHOTO)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Director Captain Stephen Russell said testing and sampling for the coronavirus (COVID-19) will come to a “standstill” until Tropical storm Isaias passes over The Bahamas and the all-clear is given.

He made the statement during a National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) press conference yesterday.

“I have been on the call with the health officials this afternoon for their daily briefing,” Russell said.

“I know a number of samples have been transported to New Providence for testing.

“Certainly, they will conduct those testing during the course of the next 24 hours.”

“In terms of other samples or testing being conducted anywhere in The Bahamas, that will not occur until we get the all clear with the system.

“Again, persons in either Grand Bahama or the other islands — because of the restriction in movement and flights or anything else, that operation will come to a standstill, particularly tests coming from the islands.”

The Bahamas is undergoing a second wave of coronavirus cases.

Yesterday, health officials confirmed another 24 COVID-19 cases — 20 in New Providence and four in Grand Bahama.

As of yesterday, 4,167 tests had been completed — a difference of 1,743 tests compared to the 2,424 tests completed as of July 1.

The total number of cases shot up from 104 as of June 30, to 508 as of yesterday — a quadrupling of cases in a month.

Of the total cases, there were 247 cases in Grand Bahama, 205 cases in New Providence, 21 in Bimini, nine in Moore’s Island, nine in Great Guana Cay, six confirmed in the Berry Islands, four in Cat Cay, three in Cat Island, three in Exuma, and one in Abaco.

Isaias strengthened into a hurricane shortly before midnight.

At the time, the system was 80 miles southeast of Great Inagua and moving northwest at 18 miles per hour, with maximum sustained winds of 80 miles per hour.

On the forecast track, Isaias is expected to move over the central Bahamas by Friday night.

It is expected to leave the country sometime on Sunday.