By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Senior Reporter
THE Bahamas recorded five new COVID-19 cases yesterday as the Office of the Prime Minister announced that Dr Merceline Dahl-Regis, the face of the government’s COVID-19 response, is leaving her post next week.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis, who has been acting Minister of Health since Dr Duane Sands resigned in May, will announce the new minister of health on Sunday when he gives a national address, The Tribune understands.
The OPM said in a statement yesterday: “Dr Dahl-Regis was appointed in March and agreed to serve until the end of June. She also agreed to extend her service, which will end shortly.
“Dr Dahl-Regis will continue to offer strategic advice to the government and the prime minister but will be stepping aside from day-to-day operations,” the statement noted. “Dr Dahl-Regis has put in place strategies, policies and procedures as it relates to managing COVID-19 and is confident in the team that will be led by Chief Medical Officer Dr Pearl McMillan.
“The prime minister thanks Dr Dahl-Regis for her national service and will have more to say in a national address on Sunday.”
Yesterday’s five new COVID-19 cases marks the most number of new cases the country has recorded since May 5. The record for most new cases in a day, six, was recorded on April 1.
There have been 20 new cases in eight days. The Tribune understands measures to prevent spread of COVID-19 in Grand Bahama are expected to be announced as early as today.
The new cases include an 84-year-old Grand Bahama woman, a 45-year-old man and a 43-year-old Grand Bahama man, all without a history of travel; they also include a 73-year-old New Providence man and a 27-year-old New Providence woman, both with a history of travel.
The country has averaged 10 completed RT-PCR tests in the last ten days.
On Tuesday a Bahamasair flight attendant tested positive. She worked flights on July 5 and July 6 that went into Fort Lauderdale.
Florida has emerged as the new epicentre of the coronavirus, recording more than 10,000 new cases yesterday and a record 15,000-plus cases on Sunday.
Asked if officials are considering recommending that travel to and from Florida be banned, Dr Dahl-Regis suggested on Tuesday that this is not being considered. She said officials are instead using a risk stratification system to determine which tourists can enter the country.