Sands: No new cases, health system braced for potential “surge” in COVID-19 cases

Sands: No new cases, health system braced for potential “surge” in COVID-19 cases
  • No new cases as of Sunday: 117 persons tested, 4 positive

  • Surveillance Unit “fully aware” of possible incident of air travel exposure

  • 1,750 test kits in-house, 10k on order

  • Natl. lab capacity to test 50 per day, rate of testing to increase with capacity

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Health minister Dr Duane Sands warned the country not to have a false sense of security over the low number of COVID-19 cases in the country.

The country’s first case was confirmed last Sunday, March 15, and the most recent positive case was confirmed on Friday.

Sands said while officials received some gratification from the apparent lull in cases, there are concerns about the possibility of a “surge in the near future”.

He further suggested there will soon be additional changes to border control and quarantine, adding that the Cabinet was meeting daily on emerging data on mitigating spread.

Health Minister Dr. Duane Sands

Sands was asked for response on global public health advisories recommending full border shutdown to mitigate against the virus’ spread, particularly travel restrictions on American visitors.

“The US itself and other countries have taken the decision to advise their citizens not to leave their homeland,” Sands said.

“The Cabinet is meeting on regular basis to update, revise, and adjust. We are mindful of considerations and the advice of pubic health community.”

The health minister was also asked to comment on current economic impact on the country – which he noted was subject to a number of factors.

“With each passing day there are changes, decisions made by major resorts to close…I don’t believe that any member of parliament can give accurate assessment of what this is going to cost.

He added: “The impact on the world economy is massive and The Bahamas is not going to be spared.

Sands and related stakeholders provided an update on response to the COVID-19 pandemic at the Ministry of Health on Sunday.

The health minister said there were 1,750 test kits in country, with 10,000 rapid test kits ordered.

Sands said 2,500 kits are expected to arrive in New Providence on Wednesday, with more batches throughout the week.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Pearl McMillan said the national lab has tested 117 persons to date, with four positive COVID-19 cases.

Former Chief Medical Officer Merceline DahlRegis confirmed health officials were “fully aware” of a possible incidence of exposure on board an airplane.

While she did not provide further details, Dahl-Regis said: “We have the names, list of contacts, we are following not only those on the plane for transport services but the staff that assisted them as well.

She added: “It is quite a task but we are doing the very best we can.”


Thank God that the ministers reacted very quickly to this covid 19. Most countries waited to long before they did anything . The amount of effected people our nothing compare to most countries.

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