EXPECTED: Uptick in coronavirus cases “the norm” after holidays, says health minister

EXPECTED: Uptick in coronavirus cases “the norm” after holidays, says health minister
Minister of Health Renward Wells.

New Providence surpasses 10,000 cases

Wells: Health officials have not recommended tighter restrictions

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Health Minister Renward Wells said yesterday that the recent uptick in COVID cases is a result of the Independence Day Holiday.

New coronavirus cases climbed to the triple digits over the holiday weekend and hospitalizations continue to rapidly rise.

Health officials confirmed 81 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, taking the number of cases in the country to 13,685, with 1,194 active.

New Providence has recorded some 10,200 coronavirus cases to date.

The flag is raised at 12.01am on July 10, 2021, during the Independence Day flag raising ceremony at Clifford Park. (BIS/KEMUEL STUBBS)

Wells told reporters outside Cabinet that the rise in infections has been the norm following major holiday celebrations.

“We have just come through the entire weekend of independence, so folks would have gotten together in groups on beaches, in their homes, celebrating our independence and obviously, we would have expected, given the fact we had positive cases in the country, that there would have been an uptick.”

The health minister also noted the healthcare sector continues to be strained, with bed capacity once again emerging as a challenge.

“It is and has been a huge cost to this country in terms of manpower, in terms of treasure, of blood sweat, and tears in many ways”.

There are currently 83 people in hospital — 70 of those cases are moderately ill and 13 are in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

However, the health minister noted health officials have not recommended tighter restrictions outside of Bimini.

“We are continuing to move forward under the existing COVID protocols, existing curfew times,” he said.

The government has advised that it intends to move forward with ending the COVID-19 emergency orders when the current state of emergency ends on August 13.

Attorney General Carl Bethel.

The attorney general previously said the government would draft a bill to create a new framework for permanent COVID-19 legislation concerning the health aspects of the emergency orders.

However, Parliament is not scheduled to meet until September 22.

Wells said it is unlikely that there will be immediate legislation to replace the emergency orders once they expire.

“I do not foresee that taking place immediately in September, but I do believe that there is going to be some fundamental things in the public health sector,” he said.

About Sloan Smith

Sloan Smith is a senior digital reporter at Eyewitness News, covering a diverse range of beats, from politics and crime to environment and human interest. In 2018, Sloan received a nomination for the “Leslie Higgs Feature Writer of The Year Award” from The Bahamas Press Club for her work with Eyewitness News.