Too early for GB lockdown, says health officials

Too early for GB lockdown, says health officials
Aerial photo of Freeport, Grand Bahama (Sourced)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Head of the Grand Bahama COVID-19 Task Force Dr Frank Bartlett said there is not enough data to determine whether the surge of new cases in Grand Bahama over the last week represents clusters of infections or a second wave of community transmission.

He was responding to questions from the media during a virtual Ministry of Health press conference Tuesday about the need to lockdown the island.

In response, Barlett said Grand Bahama has undergone an increase of imported cases, but community transmission appears to remain low.

He said more data will guide health officials on the next steps that ought be taken, including measures such as curfew and lockdown.

“We still haven’t established a clear-cut pattern as to whether we are just dealing with clusters and at this point in time, it is very hard, very difficult to say that we have established sustained community transmission,” Bartlett said.

“So again, we don’t have any definite relationships between the cases that we have, other than… the relationships we have with those who have travelled to the ones who are positive.

“In order to make a decision on that and in order to make recommendations we still have to have more information.

“The contact tracing that we are doing right now will give us more information to make decisions that will hopefully protect our community.

“But at this point in time, we do think it’s too early to be able to say what type of transmission and what we are seeing.”

There have been 10 new infections on the island in the last week.

As part of the phased approach to resume commercial activity, the borders were reopened to international carriers on July 1.

Prior to the new infections, the island had not recorded a new case in 63 days.

A breakdown of the new infections, include a 33-year-old Grand Bahamian woman with no history of travel, and a 20-year-old undocumented Haitian migrant, who the US Coast Guard apprehended along with nearly two dozen others and transported to Grand Bahama.

Bartlett said the migrant was detained along with 21 others for two days before being brought to Grand Bahama.

Among new infections include: a Grand Bahamian man, 27, with no history of travel but was in contact with his sister, who was repatriated from the US with a negative COVID-19 test that was 12 days old; two Grand Bahamian woman, ages 16 and 39, with histories of travel; a 47-year-old woman in Grand Bahama with no history of travel; a 33-year-old Grand Bahamian woman with no history of travel, and a 52-year-old man with no history of travel.

An additional two cases were confirmed on the island on Tuesday — two men, ages 52 and 29, both of whom had no history of travel.

Health Consultant to the Office of the Prime Minister Dr Merceline Dahl-Regis express concern over the new cases due to the “exponential curve”, but said health officials must determine what is the most effective approach based on evidence.

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