By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Senior Reporter
A PIZZA Hut employee in Grand Bahama was revealed yesterday to have COVID-19 as deep cleaning of the CA Smith complex began because a migrant with COVID-19 was present on the premises.
The CA Smith building houses the Passport Office, the Ministry of Education, the Customs Department and the Department of Immigration in Grand Bahama.
Meanwhile, Grand Bahama reported two additional COVID-19 cases yesterday, bringing the nation’s toll to 113. The new cases are a 33-year-old woman with no history of travel and a 52-year-old man with no history of travel. Both of them are isolating at home.
There have been eight new COVID-19 cases on Grand Bahama reported in less than a week.
Pizza Hut announced that one of its workers tested positive for the virus and is in quarantine.
“All employees exposed to the team member have been identified by the Ministry of Health and are in self-isolation,” the establishment posted on its Facebook page. “The health and well being of our team members and customers is our number one priority, especially in these uncertain times. As a precaution, we temporarily closed the restaurant for sanitisation by professionals.”
Ministry of Health officials are expected to have a press conference today about the spike in cases.
Meanwhile, former Grand Bahama minister, Senator Dr Michael Darville said yesterday the government’s communication on the pandemic has become inadequate.
“It is very important that the acting minister of health, who was supposed to have an extensive press conference to articulate to the Bahamian people what’s going on, what are their impressions and how they feel. Written speeches are one thing but an open discussion with the media is necessary so media can ask the relevant questions,” Dr Darville said.
It was revealed last week that one of the latest COVID-19 cases in Grand Bahama is a undocumented migrant.
Dr Darville said: “What we hear is they’re doing some contact tracing but the migrant community is very elusive and you really don’t get all the facts but I think there’s much more involved than meets the eye. They need to be a bit more aggressive and do more random testing in that community because I don’t think the facts are coming to the forefront as fast as we need them to do.”
He questioned whether all the protocols are in place to prevent a major outbreak of the disease now that the country’s borders are reopened.
“When they allowed international flights to come in, it was common sense that we would run the risk of importing new cases so I’m not too alarmed that we have new cases coming in the country,” he said. “What I’m alarmed about is it seems they are not ready for them. It was important to have all the protocols in place and the relevant personnel in place. New cases are pretty much what has happened throughout the Caribbean but are the clinics here ready, is the hospital ready, are the personnel ready, are we doing the necessary testing, are there proper protocols at the airport and what are we doing with isolation and quarantine? It’s imperative that they articulate and let the Bahamian people know so there wouldn’t be so much fear and isolated concerns.”
Ministry of Health officials also said in a statement yesterday that they are adding a new tab to the daily COVID-19 dashboard to include people with COVID-19 that die for a non-COVID-19 reason.
“There were two individuals who were previously confirmed to have COVID-19 who passed away,” the ministry said. “A review was completed with local and international personnel who confirmed that the deaths were not due to COVID-19.”
Of the 113 positive cases, 16 are in Grand Bahama, 83 are in New Providence, one is in Cat Cay and 13 are from Bimini. Eleven people have died due to COVID-19 while there are 91 recovered cases.