Two Patients Die: 200 Medics Quarantined

Minister of Health Dr Duane Sands.

Minister of Health Dr Duane Sands.

• All hospital visits are now cancelled

• Officials want to extend curfew

• 15 medical staff are confirmed cases

• Sandilands move exposed spread risk


Tribune Staff Reporter


THE Bahamas reported two more COVID-19 deaths yesterday as health officials revealed they have recommended to Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis that his drastic curfews extend into May and there be no further relaxation of the lockdown measures.

Health Minister Dr Duane Sands also revealed that more than 200 healthcare workers are in quarantine after exposure to a patient on Princess Margaret Hospital’s medical surgical ward over the weekend, though he expects that number to dramatically decrease after officials perform risk assessments.

He said 15 healthcare workers have been confirmed COVID-19 cases to date and in the next few days, officials expect to complete testing of all exposed healthcare workers. Among the healthcare workers in quarantine are 96 doctors and 62 nurses, he said.

COVID-19 had a mortality rate of about 15 percent in the country up to press time, with 11 confirmed deaths and 72 confirmed cases.

Two New Providence men ages 53 and 51 are the latest COVID-19 deaths. They had no history of travel.

The two new confirmed cases include New Providence women, ages 53 and 29, who are in home isolation.

Fourteen people have recovered from the virus to date. Among the recovered is a resident of Cat Cay. Health officials said contact tracing for that resident is complete and all residents on the cay have tested negative for the virus. Bimini, which now has three confirmed cases, is expected to be a site of expanded testing, with some 40 or 50 people on that island to be tested by today, according to the health minister.

Dr Merceline Dahl-Regis, consultant to the Office of the Prime Minister, said they hope to say when the COVID-19 epidemic will peak in the country this week.

“We’re following it very closely but I’m not able to say because each week based on the findings we have to look at the various models and see what fits the data, the data which comes in from the cases, it’s not only the number of cases, it’s the data, the onset of illnesses, when symptoms begin, the time of the lab testing, there are many variables that are considered with the models,” she said. “Given the situation that we were in a week ago, and where we are now, then in a week’s time we would have a better idea.”

In view of the number of healthcare workers taken out of the system because of their exposure to a COVID-19 case, Dr Sands was asked if it is time to invite help from healthcare workers like those from Cuba.

“I don’t believe that this is an issue of not being able to handle it,” he said.

“The index patient had symptoms that were inconsistent with the typical, usual or even extended definition of COVID-19,” he said. “The healthcare teams, many of them experienced, competent clinicians did not make the call. The patient subsequently spiked a temperature and at that point was tested. We are doing an external review to look at the management of this patient and all of the patients from the time that the patient arrived at the hospital up to present. When that investigation is done, we’re happy to share those results to the public.”

Dr Sands also said the South Beach Clinic will be further re-fitted to accommodate an additional ten beds for a total of 20.

This should bring the total number of beds for COVID-19 patients in New Providence to 40, he said, adding that by today six beds will be available in Grand Bahama and within a week or so there will be 22 beds on that island.

Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Medical Officer Delon Brennen said ensuring young people are immunised during this crisis has been a challenge officials are trying to address. He conceded some children are behind on immunisations because of parents’ fear of going into the community or because of inability to access healthcare sites.

He said: “It is a challenge being able to get our young children, especially infants to get their immunisation so there is some delay that is currently happening, some just out of fear, some out of closure of offices and so what we are currently doing is putting together a strategy to make sure we are redesigning parts of our immunisation programme to make it more community accessible and even thinking about doing delivering immunisation in people’s home as opposed to waiting for them to come to us.”

During the press conference, Dr Dahl-Regis revealed clusters for cases. While most confirmed cases had a chain of cases that included no more than one person, one case had a chain that involved 19 people, including two who have since died.


joeblow 3 months, 3 weeks ago

The great irony here is that this was preventable to a great extent IF they had simply treated every patient as though they had the infection and taken the necessary precautions! Hospital visits should have been stopped from the very first COVID case was diagnosed in the country. How could you have potentially infected persons with no symptoms walking onto the hospital as visitors anyway? Sad and careless!


tell_it_like_it_is 3 months, 3 weeks ago

I heard they are giving Bahamian patients hydroxychloroquine as well. (I guess because Trump said it) SMH

This is a quote on CNN from the FDA:
"The drugs, hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, should only be used in clinical trials because they can kill or cause serious side effects, the FDA said. These include serious heart rhythm problems in Covid-19 patients treated with the drugs, especially when they are combined with the antibiotic azithromycin."


happyfly 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Huh ? What an interesting concept. They have the entire healthy population of the Bahamas in totalitarian quarantine lockdown to stop the spread but sick people wandering into the hospital can expose 200 health care workers. Good luck Bahamas. These doctors in charge are going to have us locked down till the end of days


DDK 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Oh no, more excuses to kill the economy using the death of the poor victims of the virus as the reasoning. I am sure this was preordained. The Hospital and its leadership, like that of the Country, is beyond useless. My sympathies to the families of the departed.


happyfly 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Yep. Might as well blow all your B$'s right now because another month of lockdown and mass unemployment, devastating taxes, foreclosures and a worthless currency are all we can look forward to......as well as going to the beach and not getting arrested


mandela 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Very careless, how could 200 Medics, the army on the front line of the battle (COVID-19) be put in a position to be taken hostage. The General in charge of this battle operation should be removed, all we need now is one more careless move like this and we would be captured to COVID-19.


tetelestai 3 months, 3 weeks ago

It is a pity that all the smart people who have all the answers to run our country are too busy blabbing on the Tribune's message boards.


ThisIsOurs 3 months, 3 weeks ago

@tet it is better to listen to and engage the complainers than call them complainers even if they are complainers .

You can win people over just by showing them that you value their opinion, that you've considered how to incorporate it "or" you show why it doesnt fit the objective

In fact the hospital itself is also reviewing the procedures because like the commenters above they realize that there is a better way.


DDK 3 months, 3 weeks ago

You being one of them 🤣?


TalRussell 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Think about it where are the signs of the colony's comrade First among equals photo ops having been suspended?
Beginning with the death very first and each of the 10 thereafter deaths clearly points to this government's preferred priority is to launch a preemptive pre-general election campaign strike against an almost non-existing enemy the Queen's official opposition.
What should more alarm PopoulacesOrdinary at-.large is despite the 11 official deaths is that the 35 House elected Imperialists Redshirts party's MP's hasn't seen fit suspend its pre-general election campaign!
It's important to remember that the pre-general election campaign has remained well underway since 8 O'clock on night January 31, 2020. Nod once for yeah, twice for no?


The_Oracle 3 months, 3 weeks ago

With respect of determining when the Virus may "peak" in the Bahamas, they are probably overlooking the fact that with such relatively small numbers, a few extra cases can push that around very easily. Following trends goes out the window with smaller groups. Second, Seems the hospital needs a lock down more so than the country. Nassau is still the hot spot, Out islands have gone quiet. Perhaps time to consider opening safe islands to internal function, with social distancing. A pure medical approach is a double edged sword.


proudloudandfnm 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Two weeks and no new cases on Grand Bahama!!!


Well_mudda_take_sic 3 months, 3 weeks ago

For several months global healthcare organizations around the world have made it known that persons living or working in nursing homes for the elderly, and healthcare providers working in hospitals or other medical treatment facilities, are at very great risk of becoming infected with the deadly covid-19 virus. This has been plastered all over cable tv news and other forms of news media since the end of January. Yet somehow our country's government leaders and senior healthcare officials did not have the sense or presence of mind to establish and maintain appropriate policies and procedures, nor procure the necessary personal protection equipment, to properly address this very great risk.

And you would think that because our country's healthcare system was already suffering from a severe shortage of properly trained and qualified doctors and nurses, all the more effort would have been made by our government leaders and senior healthcare officials to put in place policies and procedures aimed at ensuring our medical doctors, nurses and other healthcare personnel were all provided with adequate protection from unnecessary exposure to this lethal virus. But "No", this did not happen!

The bottom line: From Minnis and Sands right on down, we have observed to date nothing but utter and outrageous incompetence in dealing with both the health and economic implications of this most dreadful crisis. It couldn't possibly be any worse than if one deliberately tried to make it so! Frankly, we would as a country and a people probably be much better off if Minnis and Sands just went away on a very long vacation to one of our more isolated family islands without any means to communicate with others in our government.


The_Oracle 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Reminds me of the story on the method for validating (and fudging) Cancer treatment cure rates, a few test subjects die, so they're removed from the results, with the note "the patient failed the treatment" (documented, can cite source) This tunnel vision that is becoming evident from the Medical side of this is driving this bus over the cliff in all other respects.


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