NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Former Minister of Health Dr Duane Sands has called increased RT-PCR testing amid a surge of cases in recent weeks, noting that while testing cannot stop the trajectory of the surge, it can provide a better picture of the COVID situation in The Bahamas and guide policy decisions.
The Bahamas has recorded 243 cases and five COVID-19 deaths in the last week.
Hospitalizations continue to increase, which has climbed from just over 50 earlier this month to 87.
Twelve of those hospitalized cases remain in the Intensive Care Units at Doctor’s Hospital, Princess Margaret Hospital and Grand Bahama Health Services.
The majority of hospitalized cases stem from New Providence, with 37 at PMH, 21 at Doctor’s Hospital, seven at the South Beach Acute Care and Referral Centre and one case at the Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre.
“I have said it before and I will say it again, we are making missteps at multiple levels, including policy,” Sands said.
Asked whether the government should reintroduce testing at the borders even with fully vaccinated individuals, Sands said: “You’ve got to make sure that you are testing.
“And the mode of testing and the level of testing; it turns out the impact on outbreaks hasn’t been as significant as we had hoped. It allows you to determine where you are, but in terms of modifying the trajectory of the outbreak, it hasn’t been.”
He continued: “Hopefully, we will listen. If you look at the prediction of deaths, once you are mechanically ventilated, 40 percent or 50 percent of those people are predicted to die”
Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis is expected to give a national address on Sunday, focused on public health measures.
The Ministry of Health confirmed the five deaths and another 67 infections on Wednesday.
These included three men and two men, ages 37 through 76, who died between Sunday and Tuesday.
Two of the men were from Bimini and Exuma respectively.
The remaining cases were from New Providence.
Of the new cases, there were 55 on New Providence, six on Grand Bahama, four on Exuma, and two on Bimini.
One case that was reported on Long Island was reclassified as a case on Exuma.
A look at COVID-19 testing, shows the government and private sector have administered 115,525 PCR tests since the onset of the pandemic, with 917 tests performed since Sunday.
Based on the cases during the same period, the case positivity rate stands at 26 percent, more than five times the World Health Organization’s recommended rate of five percent for the reopening of a country.