Testing Is Only Available In New Providence, Says Sands

Health Minister Dr Duane Sands.

Health Minister Dr Duane Sands.



TESTING for the novel coronavirus is only available in New Providence, Health Minister Dr Duane Sands revealed yesterday.

Dr Sands made the statement outside Cabinet when asked by reporters about the level of preparedness to deal with the virus if a possible case were to arise on the Family Islands.

“All testing is done in New Providence,” Dr Sands said. “So, let me say that I know that there’s many important questions that the public has and you can rest assured that from the very highest level, that we will attempt to make sure that these answers are given even if it means having to repeat it several times.

“And, we’re going to remain available to answer the questions although not necessarily in the timeframe that they’ve posed.”

His comments to the press came after the country recorded its first case of COVID-19 on Sunday. It is not clear whether the government has any plans to send any diagnostic tests for the virus to the Family Islands.

However, Dr Sands maintained yesterday that all concerns related to fast-spreading pandemic will be addressed by government officials in the House of Assembly today.

“I know that this is very important for the public and we want to be sure to let the public know that tomorrow morning in the House of Assembly, a number of ministers will speak pointedly and deliberately to the national response to COVID-19,” he told reporters.

“And, I know that there are many, many questions and we are going to answer every single one of them but at this point, some of the information that is being requested is not going to be revealed until additional field work is done.

“…The prime minister would have outlined the plan and tomorrow in the honourable House of Assembly, we will give another update and we would like to make sure that the message is not being distorted.”

Other updates, according to Dr Sands, will include additional information on the government’s plans to expand the size of the COVID-19 hotline.

The Ministry of Health launched the COVID-19 hotline recently.

Asked by reporters if Bahamians were calling the hotline, the minister said: “They have been and I think we’re going to be expanding the size of the hotline because we would like people to have access to reliable information so we’re expanding the number of phones available.

“And again, when I give my update tomorrow, I’m sure that all of that will be included,” he added.

Up to press time, the latest Ministry of Health COVID-19 dashboard revealed that 11 people are now in quarantine, with one confirmed case in the country. Speaking about the patient’s condition yesterday, Dr Sands said she remained in stable condition.

“We’re going to be providing the public with an update and I can assure that the public health team is doing all of the necessary surveillance and contact tracing, but we will be providing an update very shortly,” he said.

But, in the meantime, the health minister is urging members of the public to use reliable sources for accurate news about the virus. 

“There’s a lot of misinformation, I think the prime minister was very clear that the public should listen to reliable sources,” he said.

“So, the Office of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Health, the chief medical officer and the official teams of the Ministry of Health, if you didn’t hear it from us then I would ask you to question the reliability and the veracity of the message that you’re hearing.”


Porcupine 6 months, 1 week ago

We already knew that testing wasn't available to us on Andros. Would this be a surprise to us? Hardly. We have a shoddy "temporary" clinic. We have no doctor. Why would we expect special treatment now? How will suspected cases get to Nassau? Mailboat, or very small confined airplane? Who will pay, again, for another trip to Nassau? No Dr. Sands, some questions don't need to be answered. We have been told, year after year, in no uncertain terms that we do not count, living in the Family Islands. We do not even have the resources in Nassau for civilized living, we don't expect it out here, where many in government don't even acknowledge our existence.


Well_mudda_take_sic 6 months, 1 week ago

Bahamians are about to learn the hard way why it's so important they not waste their voting power on incompetent buffoons.


joeblow 6 months, 1 week ago

What should be disclosed is just how many tests have been done thus far. How many of the persons who were in contact with the infected person have been tested? If none, why not?

Are they not testing for fear the numbers would increase? If so that is unethical and dangerous!


tetelestai 6 months, 1 week ago

Banana republic, we continue to be, regardless of who is in power. Good grief!


bogart 6 months, 1 week ago

Sometime ago the Family Islands in a ARCHIPELAGO has found it difficult to each have gigantic hospitals ego to the MP and have permanent staff supporting and attached to it....like Cat Island gone spent halfway discovered not meeting suitabilities....like the Palmetto one ending half a mountain graded down....etcetc....Instead ....what should happen is govt buys couple of ....mobile hospitals...and shuttle them quickly by Defence Ship to various islands back and forth... hospitals can have semi trailer drive it up and down island....one fully equiped and others various capabilities eye, etc like army mobile hospitals... can accomodate many islands instead of many islands various populations different areas settlements various levels of immediate help..... not having many islands each wanting the whole hospital.....some islands areas just have good healthy residents most of the times hospital not needed.....then year later may require .....some mobile hospitals can operate as pharmacies, geriatics, dental, eyecare different modules set up to be moving up and down archipelago.


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