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Bahamas Feels Effects Of Global Coronavirus Crisis

The US departures area at Lynden Pindling International Airport looked pretty deserted yesterday.                                                                                              Photo: Shawn Hanna/Tribune Staff

The US departures area at Lynden Pindling International Airport looked pretty deserted yesterday. Photo: Shawn Hanna/Tribune Staff

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Senior Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

DEPUTY Chief Medical Officer Dr Delon Brennen said the 61-year-old woman with the novel coronavirus visited the Fleming Street Clinic last week, prompting Ministry of Health officials to encourage some clinic staff to self-quarantine.

However, he said the woman’s visit is not what prompted the commotion captured in a viral video on Wednesday when staff fled the clinic amid panic over the disease - he said that was a separate incident, with the patient testing negative for the virus in that case.

The news came as the reality of the global coronavirus crisis began to bite home for Bahamians. Some restaurants and tourism businesses now plan to shut their doors. Churches are considering suspending gatherings. Jail visits have been indefinitely suspended and major events like the Bahamas Carnival festival have been postponed.

The US Departures Terminal of the Lynden Pindling Airport provided an eerie glimpse of the impact, with few travellers in the facility during the usually busy season. Up to press time, the first known person in the country with COVID-19 remained the only confirmed or suspected case, according to the Ministry of Health.

Dr Brennen said officials are still tracing her contacts and have not encountered any contact who is showing symptoms of the disease. It is not clear how many of her contacts have been asked to isolate themselves or how many people have been tested for the virus since Sunday’s announcement of her case.

In an interview with Eyewitness News last night, Dr Brennen said the ministry has about 25 people associated with her on its radar and is putting her contacts into self-isolation.

“(The approximately 25 contacts) encompasses not just the patient’s family themselves, we’re talking healthcare providers involved with her care, both in the out-patient and in-patient setting, so it’s a growing number of people but so far we haven’t found anyone with specific symptoms,” he said.

“We continue to place any contacts with the index patient into self-quarantine. We continue to say in larger concentric circles we know who her immediate contacts were and as we get in contact with them and place them into quarantine we do some testing of contracts and if we don’t find an index patient in that grouping we find out who they may have been in contact with or even widen the circle for her to say where else might you have been so that we can start to address those other areas as well.”

Officials closed the Fleming Street clinic yesterday for cleaning and a meeting with staff.

“Individual staff members (of the Flemming Street Clinic) who may have been in contact with the patient but not appropriately wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) are being encouraged to self-quarantine,” Dr Brennen told The Tribune yesterday morning. “However, those who were not in contact with the patient or wore appropriate PPE do not need to quarantine at this time.”

During a press conference on Monday, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Ghebreysus complained that insufficient urgency to escalate testing and isolation is harming the fight against the coronavirus.

For now, Health Minister Dr Duane Sands said yesterday, Bahamian officials will continue following the consensus view of public health experts on when and who to test for the disease.

“The technical experts, the entire technical team in conjunction with Pan-American Health Organisation looks at the various approaches to testing,” he said. “At this point, we are still following the advice of Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus and WHO. He said test test test but when you look at the recommendations it is to test everybody with symptoms. What defines symptoms is evolving. If I have a sore throat, does that mean you have COVID? This will evolve as it has evolved everywhere else but we have to maintain our capacity. If you do 200 tests today and have none tomorrow, what you gon’ do? As we get more tests that will give us the option of liberating the approach. Right now we are testing based on the consensus view of public health experts.”

Comments

realitycheck242 3 months, 3 weeks ago

The effects of 911 lasted was a few days, Hurricaine Dorian lasted a few days, COVID-19 will be here for months. The new normal will cramp many a life style.

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ohdrap4 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Dorian is still at work. The minister of finance said the country lost 25 percent of gdp. Effects much longer than a few days.

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avidreader 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Only a person who has not been to Abaco and eastern Grand Bahama could state that the effect of Dorian lasted a few days. Sadly, many people in New Providence are unaware of the true extent of the physical and financial destruction caused by the storm. It seems that the hurricane was only the opening chapter in a volume of hurt.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 months, 3 weeks ago

No. Strongly disagree. Hurricane Dorian was not the opening chapter in the volume of hurt for the Bahamas. Minnis becoming PM in May 2017 was the opening chapter.

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Porcupine 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Agreed. Seems many, if not most, Nasuvians are unaware of what goes on beyond the borders of the capital.

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ThisIsOurs 3 months, 3 weeks ago

some Nassauvians are unaware of what happens beyond Bay St. You will often hear statements like why can't these lazy people save their money and eat healthy food. And they always complaining... :-|

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joeblow 3 months, 3 weeks ago

@ThisIsOurs... a lifetime of poor choices will make the effects of these events unnecessarily more difficult for many people! I people come out of this a little wiser!

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bahamianson 3 months, 3 weeks ago

So, close everything for 14 days to prevent social interaction. Anyone coming into the country from high risk areas-quarantined, Make testing available. If, the country is shut down for 14 days, no one spreads it, even the ones with no obvious symptoms. Government needs to bail us out. No business licenses , no VAT, or whatever the financial and economic experts recommend. It will be a done deal.

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xtreme2x 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Can someone explain to me what am missing? why is this person being kept unknown?I think everyone who is detected of the COVID-19 Should be known to public so everyone who know that they had contact or some family can self quarantine them self. And seek medical attendance.

Other part of the world people are making them self known that they have is.This is nothing to be shame off.

By keeping persons with the covid-19 unknown to public. The authorities will be multiplying the cases here in the Bahamas. IF AM WRONG PLEASE CORRECT ME.

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newcitizen 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Because we live in a society where our medical history is private and protected. Even in a crisis there are values that we need to uphold.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Reassuring to know our public healthcare workers will flee for the hills at first sign of Covid-19 coming near them.

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longgone 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Looks like every man for themselves hey Mudda??

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newcitizen 3 months, 3 weeks ago

That is such a sad sign. I hope enough others will have more resolve in the face of this.

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stillwaters 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Half of Nassau already know who the covid 19 family is......whatsapp is better than the news stations.

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TalRussell 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Neither has we comrade prime minister, nor his finance minister, addressed the liquidity situation for we Colony of 700 Out Islands and Cays to sustain the ever widening demands to be made upon PopoulacesPurse? With the added loss government's taxes, fees and revenue - what will it all mean for the Colony's ability to meet its local and international loan repayment obligations? And, with all the certain and unknown gloom and doom, what will the {maxed out} financial pressures mean for we Colony's dollar currently trading at par with the U.S. dollar?

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joeblow 3 months, 3 weeks ago

"Dr. Brennen said officials are still tracing her contacts and have not encountered any contacts who are showing symptoms of the disease."

It conveniently does not say that these people were tested, even though we know the asymptomatic infected person can still spread the disease!! It seems idiotic to trace contacts and not test to confirm whether or not they are infected purely to keep apparent cases artificially low. This unethical and deceitful behavior by our public officials is frightening and dangerous!

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DWW 3 months, 3 weeks ago

no sir. you are making unethical and decietful statements. you are being frightening and dangerous. grow up.

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joeblow 3 months, 3 weeks ago

@DWW... please explain how the statements made were unethical or deceitful. Did you bother to read Dr Brennens statement I re-quoted from above??

Do you not realize that the person infected with the virus had to have gotten it from someone. So at a minimum there would have to be two cases here (since she did not travel recently). The only way there cannot be two cases is if those she was in contact with were not tested and simply asked to quarantine themselves. Learn to think!

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BONEFISH 3 months, 3 weeks ago

This situation is unprecedented.It shows how dependent this country is on tourism.How the country imports basically everything it consumes.My job is directly tied to tourism.So I am worried about my family's health and liveli

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John 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Donald Trump must now implement the same monetary and economic policies he so heavily criticized President Obama for. In fact he will, at some point, have to cancel some of the deep, deep tax cuts he gave unto his friends

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John 3 months, 3 weeks ago

And this is more than a wake up call to the Millennial tribe and Generatiin X. They never experienced a shortage of nothing except love and affection!

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TalRussell 3 months, 3 weeks ago

My, my, reminds how pre and post Hurricane Dorian - when Abaco's central government's civil servants and workers, had all packed up - including members the island's Royal Constabulary and the Navy - to flee back to the safety of the Colony's capital Out Island. Same exact PM, finance, health, defense, Works, Housing, education and AG ministers - still remain in governing charge of defending and protecting we Colony of Out Islands - from the new coronoavirus? This is much too serious of a time to be making stuff up. Just, shouldn't.

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