NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Health officials said yesterday that they are monitoring a number of current indicators in order to determine whether they will be recommending additional restrictive measures for the country.
The Bahamas remains on a 24-hour lockdown, following reimplemented measures to curb the significant increase in cases during the second surge.
The lockdown is expected to remain in effect until August 19, and will be reassessed near the end of the period.
Pointing to the amount of traffic on the road during the days allowed for essential services, Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr. Delon Brennen indicated that there seem to be more people going out now than during the country’s first wave.
Brennen said there is a trend in New Providence, Grand Bahama, and other Family Islands where people continue to engage in social activities with others.
“Unfortunately, that is continuing to put us in a position where it is difficult for us at this stage to take in hand this current wave,” he said.
“Add it’s going to make it more difficult for us to say at any point that we are going to be able to suppress what is going on with the viral spread and for us to make a recommendation that now that our numbers are looking so much better that we are going to bring this down.”
Brennen said residents must take the lockdown seriously and follow the advised protocols if restrictions are to be lifted.
“We are going to need to start to look as if we are in lockdown,” he continued.
“We are going to have to make sure curfews look like that and if that then begins to happen then we will know that we are taking it seriously.
“You will then see a result in the decrease in the number of cases that are happening every day or every week and when that happens, then you can expect that a recommendation that will come from health to say now that we are seeing a change, we can change what is happening with those restrictive measures.”
Health officials confirmed 30 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday, taking the total number of cases to 1,119.
As of yesterday, there were 964 active cases.
Chief Medical Officer Dr. Pearl McMillian said before health officials can make recommendations of restrictions, it must first look at key indicators, including testing and health sector capacity, to determine the way forward on further restrictions.
“We are recognizing that we are fast coming to the point of having to actually make a recommendation,” McMillian said.
“We are reviewing the data that is on hand and looking toward additional data that we will have utilizing our Sharepoint contact tracing software to be able to give a proper recommendation.”
Asked whether officials are considering restricting essential services as well, McMillian said she hopes that that recommendation is not necessary.
Cases continue to spike
McMillian yesterday revealed that there has been a 41 percent increase in coronavirus cases over the last week, with The Bahamas recording 356 cases this week.
She said the number of cases in the country is still on an uptick.
“When we look specifically at New Providence, there continues to be a spike in new cases,” McMillian said.
“We are not seeing the impact of the lockdown in New Providence as yet.”
She explained that among the reasons that officials are not seeing a decline in cases as expected during the lockdown period is because people who have been exposed prior to the lockdown and are just now presenting to health facilities.
She also pointed to the backlog in lab capacity output and samples taken prior to the lockdown which is now being reflected in the daily numbers.
Additionally, McMillian said increased contact tracing is now identifying presymptomatic, asymptomatic, and symptomatic cases.
She said there has been a shift in the age profile in the COVID-19 cases in The Bahamas.
Sixty-one percent of the cases are clustered around people aged 20 to 50-years-old.
Officials also revealed that there are now two additional COVID-19 deaths, taking the number of deaths to 17.
There are eight deaths under investigation at this time – four in New Providence and four in Grand Bahama.
The recovery rate stands at 12 percent.
Overall, there are now 570 confirmed cases in New Providence, 446 in Grand Bahama, 45 in Bimini, 31 in Abaco, 12 in the Berry Islands, eight in Cat Island, five in Exuma, one in Eleuthera and one in Inagua.