NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Chairman Fred Mitchell confirmed yesterday all PLP senators have tested negative for the coronavirus following a confirmed case of a House of Assembly staffer last week Tuesday.
When contacted, Mitchell confirmed following testing “all PLP senators are COVID free”.
It was confirmed last week Tuesday that a House of Assembly staffer tested positive for the virus, prompting the House to close for deep sanitization.
A limited number of parliamentarians have attended subsequent sessions of the House, which have been called “extraordinary”.
Since the first confirmed case, a second Parliament staff tested positive for COVID-19, according to Speaker of the House Halson Moultrie.
Moultrie and House Chief Clerk David Forbes have both tested negative for the virus.
The speaker has expressed concern about an “institutional spread” and suggested members should get tested out of an abundance of caution.
As of Monday, only four of the Parliament’s 17 staff members had undergone a COVID test.
The first exposure was confirmed on September 9.
Wednesday marked two weeks since the confirmed exposure on September 9 – the normal quarantine period recommended by health officials following a potential exposure.
In a statement, the Cabinet Office advised that anyone who came into contact with the infected House staffer for more than 15 minutes without following preventative measures such as wearing a mask and maintaining a physical distance will be required to quarantine.
To date, at least three parliamentarians have tested positive for the virus and at least three more have had to quarantine due to potential exposures.
Last month, Opposition Leader Philip Brave Davis, the Cat Island, Rum Cay, and San San Salvador MP, Senator Dr Michael Darville, and Central and South Eleuthera MP Hank Johnson tested positive for the virus.
Following a potential exposure at the Sir Cecil Wallace-Whitfield Centre, which houses both the Office of the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Health, both Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest entered voluntary quarantine out of an abundance of caution.
It was the second time Turnquest voluntarily quarantined, after his aid in Grand Bahama tested positive for the virus in late July.
Both the prime minister and Turnquest tested negative.
Education Minister Jeffrey Lloyd also tested negative for COVID-19 following voluntary quarantine after he was exposed to a positive case last month.