UPDATE: THE Ministry of Health announced that two COVID-19 patients who were being hospitalised died Thursday night, bringing the total number of confirmed COVID-19 deaths to three. FULL STORY HERE
By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country has jumped by three to 24 and a nine-year-old girl is among the infected.
Meanwhile, a 72-year-old healthcare worker with COVID-19 is in the intensive care unit.
The three new cases include a 79-year-old New Providence man and an 80-year-old Grand Bahama man, both of whom had no history of travel; and a nine-year-old girl from New Providence who has a direct link to case eight, officials said.
Almost all of the recently confirmed cases are people older than 55. It is not clear how many of them were tested through contact tracing or encounters with the healthcare system.
On Wednesday, health officials said the six confirmed cases announced that day included a 61-year-old woman who was a contact of a previous case; a 67-year-old woman; a 59-year-old man who has been hospitalised and a 96-year-old man who has also been hospitalised.
The Ministry of Health said case 17, a 67-year-old woman in New Providence, is under investigation, meaning contact tracing is ongoing in her case.
There are currently five confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Grand Bahama, 18 confirmed cases in New Providence and one confirmed case from Bimini.
The country recorded its first COVID-19 death on Monday when 57-year-old Kim Johnson-Rolle died shortly after arriving in New Providence from Bimini.
Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis also revealed that using Geographic Information System mapping, health officials have identified a COVID-19 hotspot in Grand Bahama and the eastern end of New Providence.
He urged people to obey social distancing guidelines and to stay at home.
“Our greatest tool in the fight against this virus is following the public health advice to be physically distant from one another. There is no vaccine for this virus as yet. There is no cure,” he said.
Dr Minnis also said 50 healthcare professionals have been sidelined because they were exposed to the virus.
He said a volunteer hotline is being set up to register people interested in contributing to the COVID-19 fight.
Asked what tools officials will use to address community spread in the eastern end of New Providence, Dr Merceline Dahl-Regis, the country’s COVID-19 coordinator, said there are various survey options under review by officials, including rapid testing, temperature monitoring and community quarantine. She said hotpots are determined by the number of contacts per case, among other things.
“We have plotted the cases, we’ve plotted the contacts, we’ve looked not only at the contacts but what the epic-curve is showing us so together temperature monitoring, temperature surveillance, rapid testing which is a survey tool not a diagnostic tool, and we’re looking at the contacts in the hotspots that are having symptoms,” she said on Wednesday.