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Grand Bahama Covid Cases Are Hard ‘Wake Up Call’

Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest.

Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest.

By DENISE MAYCOCK

Tribune Freeport Reporter

dmaycock@tribunemedia.net

FOLLOWING the sudden spike in COVID-19 cases on Grand Bahama, Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest is urging residents to keep their “guard up”’

He said it is important that residents strictly adhere to the COVID-19 protocols to stop the spread of the virus. Six cases were recorded within one week on the island, while the country recorded seven cases overall last week. Health officials are conducting contact tracing.

Three new cases were recorded on Saturday. They are all females, including a 16-year-old girl and a 39-year-old woman, both with a history of travel; and a 47-year-old woman with no history of travel.

A 27-year-old Grand Bahama man also tested positive on Thursday, July 9; and on Wednesday, July 8, two people - a 33-year-old woman with no history of travel, and a 20-year-old undocumented male migrant tested positive for COVID-19. Officials announced on Friday, July 10, that a 40-year-old New Providence man with a history of travel had also tested positive.

All the cases are in isolation. This brings the Bahamas’ total cases to 111.

It is not clear how recently the cases with a history of travel went overseas. As fewer coronavirus cases have emerged, Ministry of Health press conferences have become less frequent and officials have become less responsive to questions from the press. The last press conference was 11 days ago. The Tribune understands one is expected sometime this week.

When contacted on Sunday, Mr Turnquest noted that the combination of cases with a history of travel as well as what appears to be community spread, is a particular concern. However, he is confident that health officials are on top of it.

“Fortunately, the Bahamas has one of the best contact tracing units in the region and the health professionals will no doubt get a handle on the situation in short order,” he said.

Mr Turnquest, the MP for East Grand Bahama, said residents must do their part to stop the spread.

“We must help them, however, by doing our part by reintroducing heightened vigilance and personal safety protocols. This spike in new cases should remind all of us that the virus is still present with us here as well as in foreign lands we may be eager to visit for shopping or vacation. We must always keep our guard up,” he stated.

“I encourage residents to pay strict attention to the Ministry of Health protocols; wear masks at all times when outside your home, avoid public spaces where you may not be able to maintain the recommended 6ft distancing; avoid crowds and places where your inhibitions may be weakened and tempted to ignore the protocols, do not speak to or allow people to speak to you without a mask, wash hands regularly, etc.

“Unfortunately, I see too many Bahamians congregating in places without masks and being undisciplined in their behaviour. This is not helpful,” he said.

Mr Turnquest noted that “in order to return to a steady state of no new cases, we each have to do our part to be vigilant as we go about our business.” He urged Bahamians to be safe.

Meanwhile, Minister of State for Grand Bahama Kwasi Thompson also said Grand Bahama residents cannot afford to let their guards down.

“We should all be very concerned. This is six cases in the last few days. This is a wake up call to all those who believed we could ease the social distancing restrictions. I make a plea to all Grand Bahama businesses to ensure they comply with the law. Everyone must wear masks. Those persons returning from international travel must abide by quarantine rules,” Mr Thompson said.

According to the latest Ministry of Health dashboard, there are 11 active cases and 89 recovered COVID-19 cases. Eleven people have died from the disease while 2,531 tests have been completed.

Comments

tribanon 4 months, 2 weeks ago

This idiot Turnquest is blaming these latest Covid-19 cases on Bahamians travelling to the US rather than on Minnis's premature reopening of our international border. That's the spin Minnis has told all members of his cabinet to give to his plebes in the public.

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proudloudandfnm 4 months, 2 weeks ago

What a bunch of morons... Damn. So the plan is let em die? So we can open our borders in the hopes of getting tourists during a deadly pandemic....

Yep. It is as dumb as it sounds..

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Hoda 4 months, 2 weeks ago

"Let em die"? Did you jump on the baeleria and go to fort lauderdale recently, just asking? No one put a gun to your head and said u better buy this ticket, just asking? Were u capable of exercising judgment and not travel to a state experiencing a surge of covid, just asking?

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proudloudandfnm 4 months, 2 weeks ago

Why would I do something so stupid?

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Hoda 4 months, 2 weeks ago

So do u expect your compatriots to exercise reasonable judgement or are we saying that bahamian cannot be and so we need to be prevented from intl travel?

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Hoda 4 months, 2 weeks ago

If thats the position, no problem with me, but u see no issue with the travellers behaviour but rather the govt?

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proudloudandfnm 4 months, 2 weeks ago

Think our government could have used some judgement and not allow travel to and from a country that's seeing a super surge?

Let me ask you something. How much tourism are we seeing since we opened our borders? Is our economy booming now? No right? Now, what do you think will happen if we surge? Will people want to come on vacation as we surge?

Opening our borders offers no benefit, all we get out of is more cases. Its a dumb plan.

By the way still no treatment, still no cure and still no vaccine. And don't forget the Bahamas death rate is over 10%. so the plan is most definitely let em die.... Open your eyes..

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Hoda 4 months, 2 weeks ago

I have no issues with what your saying, i find it interesting that bahamians are travelling to the US. Seems like we are not prepared to acknowledge the risk that we are chooosing to put ourselves at, complaining about the test, the cost of the test, or quarantine. I have no issues with criticisims of whether their is an efficient plan or protocol. I am saying that knowing that florida is surging, knowing that their is uncertainty around the protocol, i àm choosing to but the ticket and jump on the plane or boat to florida. As you say their are hardly an tourists, or certainly not what we are use to, i might be wrong, but seems like greatest community spread is from the bahamians travelling. So why are WE going to florida? If the answer is cause we can, then again whose fault do we laying a spike at?

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tribanon 4 months, 2 weeks ago

You're unable to appreciate the very valid points made by @proudloudandfnm because you're nothing but an argumentative and assinine spin doctor for the Doc himself. Suggest you make sure you don't get too close to one of those few dare devil tourists who have travelled to the Bahamas from a Covid-19 hot spot the US, especially if from or via South Florida. And "Yes", Minnis has indeed imperiled the lives of many of the more elderly and vulnerable Bahamians by unnecessarily re-opening our country to visitors from the US at a time when most states are ablaze with out-of-control community spread of Covid-19. Only a bonafide fool would argue otherwise, so start arguing! LOL

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Hoda 4 months, 2 weeks ago

Yawn...your insults are tired and stale. Yawningg....only an argumentative and assinine fool will say no one should being coming here, then make their way to florida. Only an insecure, in need of love and attention, argumentative and assinine fool, would be unable to comprehend i had no issues with his points, i asked why are bahamians travelling if they feel so threatened by covid. We can start arguing.

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tribanon 4 months, 2 weeks ago

Deflecting blame to Bahamian travellers that rightfully belongs in Minnis's lap belies your deceitful spin tactic. It was Minnis who stupidly re-opened our borders at the worst possible time for mere pittance in hard currency from a few dare devil tourists. Bahamian travellers certainly didn't re-open the borders but they are fond of spending our country's scarce hard currency on all sorts of unnecessary things while shopping in the Covid-19 laden US.

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JackArawak 4 months, 2 weeks ago

Tip of the iceberg Darwin, just the beginning. You ga sweat.

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mandela 4 months, 2 weeks ago

We've only just begun. There are numerous visitors coming into the Bahamas without proper testing or protocol for entering. This Is no time to be allowing visitors from the entire USA to enter the country.

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tribanon 4 months, 2 weeks ago

Every death in the Bahamas caused by Covid-19 since Minnis and D'Aguilar pre-maturely re-opened our borders to international travel is a death that each of them must bear direct personal responsibility for.

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moncurcool 4 months, 2 weeks ago

And how many deaths have we had since July 1?

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tribanon 4 months, 2 weeks ago

They're currently being tabulated using the Hurricane Dorian death count method. The final number when all is said and done will be as low as Minnis wishes to make it.

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proudloudandfnm 4 months, 1 week ago

Our death rate is over 10%, people are going to die thanks to opening our borders and everyone of them is on Minnis's hands...

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TalRussell 4 months, 2 weeks ago

I want the National Honours committee to remember and let the record reflect that it's goin' be a steep climb see the likes of a Comrade KP. ever again to land at one of we 700 out islands and over 2000 rocks and cays, as an equal futuristic finance master of this hereto Colony. Just couldn't make this a man's of the likes KP up. Just, couldn't. Nod Once for Yeah, Twice for No?

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DD 4 months, 2 weeks ago

How about some facts for a change.Citizens from the Caricom nations,are being allowed in with no testing.Thats Jamaica,Haiti,Belieze,Tobago and a list of other nations with no testing or hospitals that you or I would choose to go to if we were sick.The Covid seed in Grand Bahama was a Haitian undocumented individual that no one knows how he got into the country.The tourists are all following the rules that the Government laid out.Until we get a handle on the influx of Chinese,Haitians,Caricom residents,and Bahamians shopping in Florida and if staying less than 72 hours need no testing to renter Bahamaland.Can this government please make some logical restrictions that are enforced on everyone,every color,every nationality,every economic level.Just this latest blunder will take 14 more days to see the real results of letting people renter with no testing.Why would anyone let their residents take the ferry to Florida,go to two dozen crowded stores,touch a thousand surfaces,sleep in houses with many relatives, if they weren’t purposely trying to infect the whole of the Bahamian Population??

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SP 4 months, 2 weeks ago

We're dammed if we do open, and dammed if we don't open to tourism! Being dammed if we don't is less damaging to the economy, as the cost and remediation of another total 3 months shut down will far outweigh the income generated in three weeks by a few 1000 tourists.

This is a high stake, life, and death, balancing act that I personally wouldn't want to be responsible for!

The Governors of Florida and Texas made the wrong beach opening call during spring break and now have hell to pay for their gross stupidity.

At least PM Minnis had the fortitude to get the Independence Holiday beach closure right. That could easily have been a maximum opportunity for multiple superspreaders to set us back several more very painful Months.

Good luck PM Minnis. COVID is a tricky war with no rule books, treaties, or do-over opportunities. You either get it right the first time, or COVID will unforgivingly make it known to all and sundry that you got it wrong!

You also should have learned by now to keep your eyeglasses on and clean with BOTH eyes' on Symonette and one eye on Sands! These two opportunitist are looking for openings to discredit you for their own political gains.

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tribanon 4 months, 2 weeks ago

You kiss arse Minnis spin doctors are sounding increasingly hollow as the public's scorn for him climbs to new heights with each passing day.

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proudloudandfnm 4 months, 1 week ago

Spring break? You're very misinformed, the surge Florida is in now is a result of opening too early. Sort of like Prime Minister Pandemic opening our borders too early. Obviously Sands was at the helm during our first wave and we did very well, now PM Pandemic is in charge and GB is surging for the first time. You minnis freaks need to just shut up now, he failed as opposition leader and now he has failed miserably as PM. Wake up and stop being dumb sheep...

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ThisIsOurs 4 months, 2 weeks ago

"avoid places where your inhibitions may be weakened"

what's that?

The problem here is they're enforcing all the big brother rules but ignoring the pink elephant open borders with no sample testing.

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