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We Are Still Not Testing Enough, Claims Darville

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PLP Senator Dr Michael Darville.

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Senior Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

THE Bahamas is still not testing enough people to make the best decisions about re-opening the country from the COVID-19 lockdown, Senator and former Cabinet minister Dr Michael Darville said yesterday.

Some experts have set testing targets that places should aim for to make reliable decisions about reopening.

The government of the United Kingdom set a goal of 100,000 tests per day by the end of April, a figure it has failed to reach. In the United States, Texas set a goal of 30,000 tests per day and Illinois set a benchmark of 10,000. In Ontario, Canada, officials have targeted 16,000.

The basis of targets varies but the figures reflect population sizes and known facts about the penetration of COVID-19 in communities. Some experts say testing at least at targeted rates gives a reliable picture of the virus’ spread.

The Bahamas is currently testing about 34 people per day and up to May 9, had conducted 1,587 tests overall.

Dr Merceline Dahl-Regis, coordinator of the COVID-19 response, did not reveal whether her team has a daily testing goal when asked during a press conference about the matter last week but said the country’s current testing rate is adequate.

“The 1,539 tests to date certainly gives us comfort,” she said on Thursday. “We’ve also interacted with the lab and they are able to conduct 100 tests on a daily basis if they run for 24-hours so I think we are in a good place in terms of our capacity to respond and should there be more cases we are in a good position at this time, but we continually monitor the situation.”

However, Dr Darville, the co-chair of the Progressive Liberal Party’s COVID-19 task force, disagrees.

“We have already outlined the necessity for more testing,” he said yesterday. “Based on the rate of the testing we feel it is not moving fast enough and we need to start moving at a more rapid pace so we can reach a sampling of one percent of the population, hopefully reaching 10 percent of our population for us to understand how the virus is impacting us and where it is in our communities and the necessary protocols we have to put in place as we begin to open up the economy.”

In the last two weeks, the Bahamas has seen a drop in confirmed COVID-19 cases, but absent more testing, Dr Darville said it is unclear how much confidence people should take from the decline even as the country gradually relaxes COVID-19 restrictions.

To date, the Bahamas has conducted about four tests per 1,000 people, more than a number of countries in the Caribbean region.

However other islands have tested even more. The Cayman Islands, which bought 200,000 PCR test kits from South Korea last month, has tested about 48 per 1,000 people and Barbados, which bought tests from the Cayman Islands, has tested about nine per 1,000 people.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Delon Brennen said last week the Bahamas had arranged to get tests from the Cayman Islands, though he could not say how many. Last month Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said tests remain limited in the country.

Comments

ISpeakFacts 3 weeks ago

To date, the Bahamas has conducted about four tests per 1,000 people, more than a number of countries in the Caribbean region.

Is this supposed to be some sort of accomplishment? It's been over 3 months since the first confirmed case of Covid-19 in the Bahamas and we haven't even tested 1,600 people out of a possible population of over 450,000. To be exact we haven't even tested 0.4 percent of our population.

Testing 10-30 people daily is not going to get us anywhere, but we can all thank Minnis and Sands for our lack of test kits and PPE due to their greed and nastiness by ignoring the writings on the wall, the Caymans have so many test kits to spare they're practically giving them away, meanwhile this country is smuggling in rich foreigners from the U.S for "test kits" that probably are from the black market and thus serve us no use!

The 1,539 tests to date certainly gives us comfort

Who is this giving comfort to exactly? Anybody with common sense can tell that 1.500 tests in 3 months out of a population of over 450,000 is a national disgrace!

Last month Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said tests remain limited in the country.

Minnis and Sands both can thank themselves for our lack of test kits and PPE!

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joeblow 3 weeks ago

… and despite Sands not advising we close the borders of the country after the first COVID-19 case, not ordering swabs when he had the chance or ordering kits without swabs, not outlining coherent strategies to move forward, undertesting and abusing his office by allowing a few swabs in with privileged residents, there are those who believe he was the best thing since sliced bread and believe he actually made a contribution in the response against this virus. What a laugh!

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ISpeakFacts 3 weeks ago

Well said joeblow, lets also not forget that Sands was one of the cronies in China's pockets and was against our first travel ban aka Red-China, anyone else remember when Sands wanted to ease the China ban by making it a 2 week ban instead of 3 weeks LMAO. Sands has done this country more harm than good, only the slowest of the slow would dare to think highly of this Red-China puppet!!!

http://www.tribune242.com/news/2020/f...">http://www.tribune242.com/news/2020/f...

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TigerB 3 weeks ago

Daville is a doctor, I wonder if he stepped up to the plate to assist with the testing.. or he is doing the political thing and criticizing. That is not helping much

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