NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Bahamas has proven that public health strategies can work to reduce transmission and strike a balance between reopening the economy, said Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Health Emergencies Department Director Dr Ciro Ugarte yesterday.
However, Ugarte urged the country to follow public health measures, noting that the increase in cases since July is a cause of concern.
“A large number of cases in New Providence and ongoing detection is one source of optimism in terms of the capacity of the health system to rapidly detect the cases,” he said.
“I would say that the public health measures must be strictly followed in the country to reduce the transmission, at the same time that nationals are considering the relevance of new cases.
“…In this regard, I would say that the number of cases that we are seeing in The Bahamas and in other countries in the Caribbean that’s increased because of the opening of the economy, is a source both of concern.
“We need to know that these measures must be implemented in the long run, but at the same time, we have to put in balance opening the economy and also open the access to other essential services in the country.”
Ugarte noted that PAHO is following the country’s progress very closely and continues to be in close coordination with the Ministry of Health and local authorities.
He said while The Bahamas did “very well” in the first wave from March to June when it saw a small transmission of cases, local authorities are now facing a challenge with an increase of cases identified on the Family Islands.
Ugarte acknowledged that those challenges include the slowing of progress on New Providence, the high rate of infection of healthcare workers, and the capacity of the laboratory.
As of yesterday, the total number of confirmed cases in The Bahamas stood at 3,087.
The number of COVID-19 deaths stands at 69 with 12 deaths now under investigation.
Hospitalized cases also increased from 66 to 74.