Superclub Breezes identified as national response facility
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis today announced lockdown and curfew measures will be lifted for eight islands tomorrow.
Normal commercial activity, including church services, beaches and parks will resume on those islands at 5am on Monday.
These include: Mayaguana, Inagua, Crooked Island, Acklins, Long Cay, Long Island, Rum Cay, and Ragged Island.
“The lockdown and curfew has been lifted for these islands because health officials have not recorded any specific COVID-19 activity on these locations for at least two weeks,” he said.
The prime minister advised travelers between islands where restrictions have been lifted will be not be required to get tested or quarantine upon arrival.
Minnis noted while there has not been a confirmed case in San Salvador; however, he said officials are waiting on the results of a travel-related swab.
During his national address, the prime minister also announced measures to expand bed capacity in New Providence as health officials confirmed 20 new cases of COVID-19.
Of the new cases, there were 15 in Grand Bahama, and five in New Providence.
Minnis noted the COVID-19 outbreak in GB is still not under control, urging residents there to give the restrictive measures more time and stick to safety protocols.
The prime minister advised grocery stores will be allowed to open on all weekdays in Grand Bahama, similar to the easing of restrictions for Abaco.
Noting the need for greater accessibility to food stores, Minnis noted shopping hours have been extended to 7pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and the extension to 6pm on Saturdays for essential service workers.
Food stores will also be permitted to restock on Sundays, in addition to Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Minnis revealed the government is spending $1 million per week with the national food distribution task force, adding just under 28,000 families have registered for food assistance.
He noted that the pharmaceutical association has raised concerns about access to services, and the public has raised concerns regarding access to laundromats.
“We will continue discussions with health officials on those two areas,” he said.
As the Princess Margaret Hospital approaches bed capacity, Minnis revealed plans to utilize privately-owned facilities to establish a public health facility off-site.
He announced plans to utilize the east building of Superclub Breezes as a national response facility to meet the needs of non-COVID-19 “low medical care” patients during the pandemic.
The government will only be tasked with covering utility expenses for the facility, he said.
He said moving forward clinical management of confirmed and suspected COVID-19 patients will be treated at following locations: South Beach Center – mild to moderate presentation; PMH – moderate to severe; Doctors Hospital West – moderate to severe presentations.
PMH will continue the management of medical and surgical patients at the main institution, he said.
Minnis said Doctors Hospital West is also increasing its bed capacity to help address shortfalls.
In Grand Bahama, he said the Cancer Society Building will be retrofitted to house patients with infectious diseases.
The combined strategy in public and private facilities will result in increasing capacity by 80 patient beds.
This includes transferring 33 PMH boarders to another facility.
Minnis said those boarders cost the government $491 per day, or $6 million per year.
Minnis added: “Do not be misled with fakes news or fake therapies…we have to learn to live with this virus until there is a vaccine.”