By FARRAH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE Bahamas recorded 16 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday, including ten on Grand Bahama and five on New Providence.
Exuma recorded its first case of the virus as well: a 27-year-old woman whose travel history was not disclosed.
This comes after ten new cases were confirmed on Saturday: six on New Providence and four on Grand Bahama. Three hundred and forty two cases of COVID-19 have been recorded to date.
The new cases in New Providence include four women ages 27, 88, 72 and 29 and one 72-year-old man.
The ten new cases in Grand Bahama include eight men ages 21, 19, 48, 41, 44, 29, 42 and 31. A 21 and 39-year-old woman are also among the new cases.
Grand Bahama has emerged as the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in the Bahamas. During a press conference on Friday, Dr Frank Bartlett, head of Grand Bahama’s COVID-19 task-force, said most of the residents with COVID-19 on Grand Bahama are between 40 and 49. The first confirmed case in the recent wave of cases was a 27-year-old man––a known contact of two people who recently travelled to Fort Lauderdale, he said.
“One of the persons who returned from Fort Lauderdale on June 30 would have become symptomatic on July 3,” he added. “Of that grouping, we have in that single cluster some twelve persons that can be directly linked to that group. Of that grouping we are testing contacts of contacts. The age range of the persons we now have in Grand Bahama is at our very youngest, six years, and our eldest person is age 84. Most of our positive cases are between the ages of 40-49 and right behind that grouping is the group of 30-39.”
Dr Bartlett said the most common symptoms in recent positive patients are cough and other cold and flu like ailments along with fever and respiratory issues. He said some people have also had muscle aches and headaches. A “small minority” have complained about a loss of taste and smell, he said.
He said the most common co-morbidity observed in the grouping is hypertension, then diabetes. Some have also had issues with obesity and sleep apnea.
“As of July 23, we have done 518 swabs,” he said. “Once a person has presented symptoms or they are identified as a contact, they are swabbed. At this point in time, we are doing what is considered to be expanded swabbing. So, we have targeted groups, we’re tracing contacts of contacts in some instances (and) now we’re tracing contacts of contacts of contacts.”
Dr Bartlett said officials are not conducting mass screening right now. Officials are taking swabs from some people to get an idea of what the “burden of disease” is in the community,” he said.
“As of July 23, we have some 422 persons who are in isolation,” he said. “Also, as it relates to contact tracing, we have 230 persons we have in our listing and this group is growing on a daily basis based on the amount of positive tests we have.
“Of the 422 persons that we have in quarantine, 111 of them are at home isolating, we have nine in isolation at the government quarantine centre and we have some 20 persons who are quarantined at our government centre. The hospital at this point in time we are now only housing two COVID-19 positive cases. We would have transferred one of our cases to Doctor’s Hospital West in Nassau.”