McMillan assures follow up testing protocol secure
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Follow-up testing of travelers who arrived in The Bahamas this week is being performed and enforced, according to Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Delon Brennen.
He was unable to provide specifics, including how many people had been tested and what number, if any, had tested positive for the coronavirus.
As part of the new travel regime, entry into The Bahamas as of November 1 requires a negative RT PCR COVID-19 test, a health visa, inclusive of COVID insurance, and a follow up rapid antigen test on the fifth day after arrival.
Quarantine upon arrival has been discontinued.
It has been five days since The Bahamas’ tourism reopening on November 1.
While it remains unclear how many people traveled to the country on Sunday, Brennen confirmed health facilities were being visited for follow-up tests.
“The expansion of those areas and those facilities will continue to be ongoing,” Brennen said.
“Unfortunately we do not have the exact numbers.
“As you mentioned, the day five testing would have only taken place as of [or] started to roll out as of yesterday.
“So as those numbers become available we will be able to provide them in our next update.”
Asked whether testing was performed Friday on visitors who arrived five days ago, Brennen said: “Again, we don’t have those numbers today.
“But as soon as we are able to get all of the updates for those numbers, as it would have only been yesterday when it started, we would be able to provide an update in our next press conference.”
He added: “That is not to say that the authorities and the officials don’t know, but I am saying is, we don’t have a report for you during the course of this press conference.
“We will be able to produce that report for you when we have our next press conference.
“But the officials in the Ministry of Tourism, along with those who are charged with enforcing to ensure that persons do so through our COVID Enforcement Unit are doing exactly that and as they produce reports we will also have them and be able to follow up and provide you with that information.”
When asked whether the testing protocol using an antigen test could be relied upon, McMillan responded: “We intend to utilize the antigen test as per the recommendations and our protocol would speak to the specifics as to how we intend to utilize it.”
She continued: “The protocol does speak to using the test in symptomatic persons.
“In our collaborations with tourism, we would have shared our protocol.
“So, we anticipate that the protocol will be utilized as per the recommendations in the national protocol.
“Once it is utilized in that way, then we can feel very secure in what the results are.
“The reason why we have protocols based on international guidelines is to provide that security.”
It remains to be seen if the Ministry of Health will provide a breakdown of rapid antigen testing on its COVID-19 dashboard.
According to Brennen, the testing protocol has been a partnership involving the Ministries of Health and Tourism, and the private sector.
Testing sites have been established in Abaco, Acklins, Crooked Island, Andros, the Berry Islands, Bimini, Cat Island, Eleuthera, Exuma, Grand Bahama, Inagua, Long Island, Mayaguana and New Providence, according to the government’s website.