Updated: If We Carry On Like This, We Will Not Cope

HEALTH Minister Dr Duane Sands.

HEALTH Minister Dr Duane Sands.


Tribune Chief Reporter


THE number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has risen to 33, with four new cases diagnosed in New Providence.

The update from health officials came hours after Minister of Health Dr Duane Sands told Parliament that The Bahamas has not yet reached the peak of this outbreak.

With five patients dead out of 33 confirmed cases, the country has a COVID-19 mortality rate of 15%.

Dr Sands said if the nation continues on this path, the healthcare system will be overwhelmed and unable to meet mounting demands. The situation has also highlighted the vulnerability of healthcare workers. Almost one in every five confirmed cases has been a medical professional.

Five people, ages 57 to 80, including noted kidney specialist Dr Judson Eneas, have died as a result of virus related symptoms.

Up to press time, there have been five confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Grand Bahama, 27 confirmed cases in New Providence and one confirmed case from Bimini.

The newest confirmed cases are: case #30, a 54-year-old female resident of New Providence with no history of travel; case #31, a 50-year-old male resident of New Providence with no history of travel; case #32, a 62-year-old female of New Providence with no history of travel and case #33, 65-year-old female of New Providence with no history of travel.

Health officials continue to follow the condition of the other 24 COVID-19 positive cases. Three hundred and thirty-nine people are in quarantine.

“On March 13, 2020, The Bahamas recorded its first case of COVID-19. As previously reported, this case was admitted to hospital, subsequently discharged, and clinically has recovered. In less than one month, confirmed COVID-19 positive cases have increased to 29,” Dr Sands told the House of Assembly. He spoke before the cases rose to 33.

“…Epidemics and pandemics do not have linear growth. Look at the curves from every country. They start flat, then curve upward steeply. If we continue on this path, our healthcare system will be overwhelmed and unable to meet the demands. Social and physical distancing and responsible handwashing are the two mitigating actions that will help us to combat the strength of this virus.”

The Elizabeth MP said officials have been considering statistical data to make sound public health decisions and guide policies for returning citizens to work, children to school, and the relaxation of currently imposed restrictions.

Demographically, most of the cases are 40 to 80-years-old.

“. . .There is confirmed community spread of the virus; the way we culturally socialise has fostered this spread; and we have not yet reached the peak of the outbreak in The Bahamas,” he said.

Regarding healthcare workers, he urged Bahamians to stay home as this was the best way to protect frontline staff.

“We are keenly aware of the heightened vulnerability of healthcare workers. Frontline warriors have been exposed to the virus when ill persons visit health facilities. They also come into contact with asymptomatic carriers or persons who show no symptoms but are sources of the virus.

“Interestingly almost one in five confirmed cases, 18 percent, have been healthcare workers. Among these confirmed positive COVID-19 healthcare workers, two have had to be hospitalised. What is more worrisome, is that more than 50 healthcare workers have been identified as contacts of diagnosed/confirmed cases. These healthcare workers are currently in quarantine and are being monitored for the development of symptoms.

“Clearly, if more healthcare workers are removed from the available pool, there will be no soldiers left to fight the COVID war. We must protect our frontline workers. The best way to do this is to stay at home.”

He said the government was mindful that healthcare workers have families. No one is safe at home if someone in the house is serving on the frontline, Dr Sands noted.

To ease this concern, he said the ministry is exploring relief accommodations that can house at least 100 healthcare workers. Such accommodations will permit these workers to rest up in between shifts and even take showers before leaving to go home.


Well_mudda_take_sic 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Dr Sands said if the nation continues on this path, the healthcare system will be overwhelmed and unable to meet mounting demands.

And just think, it didn't have to be this way.


stillwaters 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Right.....like it's any other way in the rest of the world.


joeblow 6 months, 3 weeks ago

... it is expected that we will have cases, but their approach (forcing people into enclosed spaces through panic) combined with inadequate testing and a lack of police presence to enforce rules is making it worse than it has to be! Sad part is they will blame the people they are causing to panic, but not themselves for creating it!


ThisIsOurs 6 months, 3 weeks ago

"most of the cases are 40 to 80-years-old."

Unfortunately we dont know that. We only know that most of the people who've gotten really sick are between 40 and 80. The other people out there who are infected but not in the 300 in quarantine, could be mostly in their 20's, cause anyone can catch it.


Well_mudda_take_sic 6 months, 3 weeks ago

The super spreaders are asymptomatic people under 40 (including young children) who are highly infectious carriers for weeks but show no symptoms at all or only very mild symptoms.


shonkai 6 months, 3 weeks ago

really would like to know how many people have been tested and what the criteria for testing are. Shouldn't we be testing also all the seemingly healthy healthcare professionals, gas station attendants, foodstore employees, police, RBDF, customs, etc etc? Throwing around percentages like this has no real significance at all.


Chucky 6 months, 3 weeks ago

33 case.

Maybe 5 in hospital

And they’re saying it’s almost overloading the healthcare abilities

Lies. Pure lies.


Well_mudda_take_sic 6 months, 3 weeks ago


The total population of Italy is 60.3 million of which 22% are 65+ years of age. By comparison, the Bahamas has a total population of 394,200 of which 8% are age 65 or older.

Italy has had 132,500 confirmed cases of Covid-19 thus far of which 13,800 have died. The infection rate and death rate for Italy so far is therefore 0.22% (132,500/60,300,000) and 10.4% (13,800/132,500), respectively.

Assuming the Bahamas and Italy have tested roughly the same percentage level of their respective total populations, and extrapolating the Italian statistics to date to the Bahamas, this would indicate at least 866 persons in the Bahamas are currently infected of which about 90 will die. BUT THIS IS VERY MISLEADING FOR THE FOLLOWING REASONS.

We have a much more dense population (number of people per square mile) than Italy because most of our population resides on the relatively small island of New Providence. We also do not have and will never have anywhere near the healthcare resources that Italy has had available to it. The only 'good' news for the Bahamas is that the percentage of Italy's population age 65 and over is 2.75 times greater than that of the Bahamas. These three very significant factors alone will likely contribute to the infection and death rates for the Bahamas being about twice those of Italy.

In crunching the numbers, this means the Bahamas may currently have 1,734 infected persons (0.44% x 394,200), of which 360 of them (20.8% x 1,734) can be expected to die within the next 6 weeks or so. This picture could have been very different had Minnis acted much sooner to the writing that was was so clearly on the wall. But that's all water under the bridge or should I say lives to be lost now.

Looney tune mitigation measures that panic the public into crowded situations will of course make these numbers much worse.


Bobsyeruncle 6 months, 3 weeks ago

You can't compare Italy to The Bahamas. Italy & Spain, yes - EU land borders with free movement across the borders for EU populations, similar cultures, community habits, age demographics etc..


Chucky 6 months, 3 weeks ago

BS Italy has 220 people per square km Barbados (more sense thaN new providence) has 660 per swim Toronto has 4300 per sqkm

There is currently no correlation anywhere between population density and cases.


Well_mudda_take_sic 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Most would disagree with your last remark given the strong correlation between major metropolitan centres and the hottest spots around the world for identified Red China Virus cases.


TalRussell 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Have colony's prime minister and all members cabinet been tested?
Would give sense confidence for PopoulacesOrdinary to know that all comrade front and back line health care workers have - and will be tested ongoing - for COVID-19 virus. Nod once for yeah, twice for no?


SP 6 months, 3 weeks ago

If whatever criteria Dr. Sands used to come to his stated assertion is real to him, now is the time to begin dialogue with Cuba for medical assistance. We will have no other choice as the US and UK will soon be more overwhelmed than their own medical capacity and Cuba is known to have an abundance of medical personnel.

New infections from the 1st two weeks of people not wearing masks in foodstores alone might be substantially more than our medical system can handle. We might start seeing the fallout from this in the next 7 days.

Better to be over prepared well in advance than under prepared & running around like a headless chicken looking for last minute solutions to a life or death situation.


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