Sands: More medical supplies on the way

Sands: More medical supplies on the way
Dr Duane Sands. (FILE PHOTO)

Ministry of Health expects to secure 15,000 test kits “soon”

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Over 7,000 personal protective equipment (PPE) kits will arrive in The Bahamas by the end of next week to shore up existing supplies, according to Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands.

The health minister also advised that additional ventilators and COVID-19 test kits were in train.

Sands made the announcement during a press conference at the Ministry of Health, where he revealed the number of COVID-19 cases in The Bahamas has climbed to nine.

Four more people in New Providence have tested positively for the virus, and remain in home quarantine.

As it relates to supplies, the minister said the government has 2,300 test kits and to date, 175 people have been tested.

He told Eyewitness News that the ministry expected to secure 15,000 COVID-19 test kits “soon”, though it was unclear if the figure was indicative of the number of tests the surveillance unit expects to conduct in a worst-case scenario.

He said there were more than 60 ventilators available and “more are on the way to increase our current capacity”.

Sands also advised that thousands of PPE kits have been ordered to boost existing supplies with 3,000 expected to arrive Monday, and a further 4,000 by the end of next week.

Insisting that COVID-19 remains an extremely serious threat to The Bahamas, Sands encouraged residents to follow emergency orders and remain at home as far as possible, and when venturing to essential services or non-prohibited business, maintain social distancing.

“If we do not listen, the virus will spread and more people will get sick and some may die,” the minister said.

“Our healthcare system would be overwhelmed just as we are seeing currently in many rich and developed countries.

“When healthcare systems are overcome by a surge of critically-ill COVID-19 patients, many deaths occur.”

He said it is critical to prevent local spread of the virus.

Globally, there have been more than 529,000 confirmed cases.

Over 23,000 people have died.

Another 122,150 people – 23 percent – have already recovered.