NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip Brave Davis said yesterday the health constraints in Grand Bahama amid a continued rise in coronavirus cases presents a grave concern.
“We have for quite a while been expressing our distress about the state of the healthcare and healthcare infrastructure in Grand Bahama, led by Dr [Michael] Darville,” Davis said in response to questions from Eyewitness News.
“Most services since Dorian have been delivered under tents.
“We know that — I was advised by the prime minister when I spoke to him on Friday — they were seeking alternative venues to house the hospital, [but] whether that was completed, we do not know yet.
“We are keeping an eye on it. We are concerned about it because where would those persons be or go?
“The facility as we speak is already overwhelmed and the facilities here in New Providence are likely to be soon overwhelmed.”
A record 65 new coronavirus cases were confirmed in The Bahamas yesterday, pushing the total to 447.
Of the new cases, 29 were recorded in New Providence, 21 in Grand Bahama, eight in Guana Cay, six in Moore’s Island and one case in Abaco.
There have been 211 cases on Grand Bahama and 180 cases in New Providence since the outbreak.
On Monday, healthcare professionals expressed concerns that the healthcare infrastructure on the island could be maxed out if an influx of patients require hospitalized care.
A total of 12 people remain hospitalized.
In Grand Bahama, 422 people were quarantine as of July 23.
In response to the surge, the competent authority implemented a two-week lockdown on Grand Bahama, which will end on August 7 at 5am.
As it relates to his constituency, Davis, the member of Parliament for Cat Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador, said as of two weeks ago Rum Cay had one test kit and there was uncertainty there were any test kits in San Salvador.
Meanwhile, PLP Deputy Leader Chester Cooper asserted Exuma has a shortage of test kits and personal protective equipment (PPEs).
He suspected similar challenges exist on other Family Islands.
He urged the government to address these constraints to protect frontline workers and the public.
With respect to Exuma’s three confirmed cases, Cooper said his office has been in touch with them and all were fairing well.
As the number of cases climb daily, the government has increased restrictions, including a nightly curfew from 7pm to 5am and three consecutive weekend lockdowns.
Additionally, inter-island travel will require a negative COVID-19 diagnostic test and quarantine for 14 days
Yesterday, Davis questioned how the policy prevents the spread of the virus.
“It also demonstrates complete misunderstanding of our country,” he said.
“We are an archipelago with many islands, with cays surrounding it.
“Say for example, I am in Treasure Cay. I am going to go to Green Turtle Cay, which is a ferry trip from the mainland. Do I need to have a COVID test to take a ferry from the mainland of Abaco to one of the cays?”
He continued: “So, that’s what makes a nonsense of the whole process.”
According to the order, travel is permitted between Mayaguana, Inagua, Crooked Island, Acklins and Long Cay without restrictions.
Davis also accused the government of failing to protect frontline workers, and said the PLP has received persistent complaints about a shortage of personal protective equipment.
The government has maintained there is sufficient personal protective gear to keep frontline workers protected.