NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Travel ahead of the increased restrictions imposed on New Providence and Abaco earlier this month was attributed to the rise in cases on several Family Islands such as Eleuthera, according to health consultant in the Office of the Prime Minister Dr Merceline Dahl-Regis.
The restrictions, which included an earlier weekday curfew and 24-hour curfew over the weekends, were introduced on October 9.
Cases on Eleuthera have more than doubled since then.
As of October 9, there were 25 cases in Eleuthera.
As of yesterday, there were 64 cases in Eleuthera, a 156 percent increase.
Data presented during a virtual Ministry of Health press conference showed the breakdown of 27 confirmed cases in Eleuthera and their linkages and origins.
Of those cases, four infections originated at school, four stemmed from an AirBnB party, and four were from exposures at church.
Health officials also showed the distribution of cases throughout the settlements.
There were 13 cases in South Eleuthera — two cases in Tarpum Bay, five in Palmetto Point, two in Green Castle, one in Wemyss Bight, and three in Rock Sound.
Another 15 cases were in North Eleuthera.
This included one in Snake Hill, four with unknown locations, one in the Bluff, two in Bogue, three in Hatchet Bay; two in Spanish Wells, and two in James Cistern.
“You see where the cases are occurring, settlement by settlement and there have been three deaths associated with COVID-19 in one jurisdiction, one settlement in Eleuthera,” Dahl-Regis said.
“Again, there is spread the full length of the island.”
Dahl-Regis also expressed concern about the rising infections in Grand Bahama, Exuma and Andros.
She said as restrictions were relaxed in Grand Bahama, the island began to experience an increase in cases.
As of October 9, there were 654 cases in Grand Bahama.
As of yesterday, there were 737 cases in Grand Bahama — an increase of 82 cases.
As of October 9, there were 33 cases in Exuma and nine in Andros.
There were 35 cases in Exuma, and 12 cases in Andros as of Tuesday, an increase of two and three cases respectively in the last 18 days.
Of the cases in Andros, there were 10 in North Andros — five with specific locations unknown, four in Nichol’s Town, one in Lowe Sound — and two cases in South Andros, one in Mangrove and one in the Bluff.
West Exuma had one case each in Forest, Stevenson, Mt Thompson and Roker Point, and two cases in Norman Cay.
In East Exuma, 11 infections had unknown locations, three were confirmed in George Town, one in Hooper Bay and one in Williams Town.
As it relates to New Providence, Dahl-Regis said cases on the island have mostly occurred in “very densely populated areas”.
She said cases have been reported in all constituencies on the island.
As the country moves forward with plans for tourism reopening on November 1 with a new testing regime and removal of the 14-day quarantine for travelers, Dahl-Regis said an increase in cases is anticipated.
According to officials, hospitalizations on both New Providence and Grand Bahama have trended downward, though COVID-19 patients from the Family Islands have impacted bed availability.
“Over the course of the pandemic, we have documented a total of 100 airlifts across the archipelago,” she said.
“The largest number of airlifts were recorded in Eleuthera, Exuma, Abaco and Grand Bahama.”
At least seven cases were airlifted from Moore’s Island, seven from Eleuthera, five from Andros, three from Exuma, two from Bimini and a case from Inagua.
COVID-19 hospitalizations at Princess Margaret Hospital’s stand at 78.
This includes 30 beds at the Special Pathogens Unit, 11 on the Private Medical Ward, 14 on the Medical Surgical Ward No. 2, eight in the Legacy Unit, and 15 in the old General Practice Clinic area.
The hospital’s bed capacity stands at 106 with the additional 28-bed COVID-19 Isolation and Treatment Unit provided and operated by Samaritan’s Purse.