NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Consultant Physician Staff Association (CPSA) yesterday warned the country’s main healthcare facilities had reached capacity for COVID-19 positive patients as it called for a “zero-tolerance” approach to those who did not comply with public health measures.
In a statement, the association said it hoped lessons were learned from the previous reopening attempt and appealed for proper consultation with stakeholders to protect public health and the country’s economic future.
“Given that our main healthcare facilities have no more space for COVID-19 positive persons, and our healthcare teams are stretched beyond measure, the CPSA recommends a zero-tolerance approach for persons who do not wear masks in public, abide by quarantine orders, or worse, go out in public while sick or knowing that they are COVID positive,” read a statement.
“We cannot afford to lose any more of our physicians, nurses, or other healthcare members to COVID-19 nor to physical and mental exhaustion.
“We are hopeful, as healthcare workers and as long-suffering residents of The Bahamas, that lessons were learned from the prior reopening attempt, and that the relevant authorities would make the best effort – with proper consultation with all stakeholders – to protect our borders, monitor public health and social compliance, and secure our economic future as a sovereign nation.”
On Monday, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis has announced the reopening of commercial activity with certain restrictions starting Monday,
During a joint press conference with the Ministry of Health, the prime minister said it is important to reopen the domestic economy as soon as possible and have a full reopening as soon as feasible while balancing the health crisis.
The Bahamas reopened its borders for international travel on July 1, with cases standing at 104.
Days later, cases began to increase significantly, with Grand Bahama identified as a hotspot. Cases have now been recorded on multiple Family Islands throughout the country.
The Ministry of Health recorded 110 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday.
The dashboard for Wednesday (August 26) was released on Thursday morning.
Health officials reported 97 new cases in Thursday’s dashboard, which was released shortly after 1am Friday morning.
There are also two additional COVID-related deaths under investigation, bringing the total number to 50.
As of yesterday, the total number of cases was 2,020.
In its statement, the CPSA noted that healthcare workers are experiencing burnout and even more exposures since the re-opening of the country’s borders and an exponential surge in COVID-19 positive cases.
The association said it is disheartened by the alarming increase in patient deaths related to COVID-19, as well as the recent loss of Nurse Bernadette Rolle, who worked at the Sandilands Rehabilitation Center.
“This pandemic will not come to an end any time soon,” the statement said.
“We understand that the people of The Bahamas need to see a light at the end of the tunnel regarding our physical as well as our economic well-being as a nation
“To this end, we all need to work together to protect ourselves and others from COVID-19.”
The Ministry of Health guidelines include only going out when it is absolutely necessary, practicing social distancing, washing hands or use hand sanitizer frequently, and wear masks when out in public.