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Covid-19: The Workplace Is Now A 'Hotspot'

Minister of Health Renward Wells.

Minister of Health Renward Wells.

By LEANDRA ROLLE 

Tribune Staff Reporter

lrolle@tribunemedia.net

DECLARING the workplace a COVID-19 “hotspot”, health officials revealed data has suggested that workplace establishments and mass gatherings may be the leading environments of exposure to the novel coronavirus.   

Chief Medical Officer Dr Pearl McMillan made the revelation Friday and acknowledged the statistics on COVID-19 exposure were not as complete as officials would like them to be.

However, she said the data has shown so far that 41 per cent or 447 confirmed cases were exposed to the virus in the workplace or mass gatherings during the second wave.

This was followed by household or “friend” settings, which accounted for 35 percent or 387 exposures.

Dr McMillan also said there have been instances where as many as 12 employees had tested COVID-19 positive from one particular establishment.

“With regards to exposures, data exists for 31 per cent of the cases. Of this (31 percent), 41 per cent of persons…infected with COVID-19 have reported their exposure to have occurred in the workplace or a mass gathering setting,” she said.

“Another 35 per cent reported exposure from household or friends. We remind the public that the Ministry of Health have developed workplace guidelines and have adapted an assessment tool to improve their ability to prepare and maintain a level of readiness.

“We also implore business to have their human resource managers or health and safety officers register and take the nationally adapted online contact tracing course.”

Speaking on the issue on Friday, Health Minister Renward Wells deemed the workplace “a hot spot.”

Despite the high number of COVID-19 cases in the country, Mr Wells said there are some individuals who still have decided to carry on with their lives as normal, presenting a risk to them and their families.

“With the relaxation of restrictions, some have decided to go back to business as usual, including their social lives,” she said. “Some have decided to attend planned social events like showers, dinner and birthday parties where they may contract or spread COVID-19.

“These same persons go home to their families where the virus is spread. These individuals also spread COVID-19 to their co-workers. Now, we have a consistent trend of workplace exposure requiring a constant cycle of quarantining, deep cleaning and sanitization.”

“The workplace is now a ‘hotspot’.”

In August, health officials revealed that uniform branches led the way in terms of contacts’ workplace exposure by occupation, followed by health workers and those in the category of trade, utility and construction.

At the time, ‘family exposure’ and the workplace were considered leading causes of contact exposure to COVID.

Government officials say their agencies have since introduced a number of protocols to better protect workers against the COVID threat.

Comments

TalRussell 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Say what Comrade Renward about it was inevitable?
Wasn't it but mere few days back when medical officer must've been operating in the COVID-19 dark when briefing media said, Nassau Town was in COVID-19 code leveling out?
Shakehead once for Yeah your comrade not making this up, Twice for Not?

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thps 3 months, 2 weeks ago

An easy start: Why don't they start with having their own departments check their protocols?

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John 3 months, 2 weeks ago

The workplace is now a hotspot

’ Truth of the matter is the workplace has alway been a hotspot. Humans (and Bahamians in particular) are interactive creatures and regardless of what measures are put in place, they will violate social distancing rules and safety measures sharing lunch off the same plate, using each other’s phones or chargers or having ‘’mask less’ conversations. Then they go home in clothing that had been exposed to dozens of ‘unknowns’, hug their children or prepare meals, interact with next door neighbors and on and on. The blessings are the warm weather and direct sunlight but what will happen when the weather changes?

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John 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Rather than restricting the beaches , Minnis should encourage Bahamians (and residents) to get outside, get sunlight, get exercise. Delay going directly from the workplace to the home but still practice wearing of masks, social distancing and other safer protocols.

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JokeyJack 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Our beaches belong to the tourists - you must have missed the memo.

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John 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Don’t expect any Covid -19 vaccine soon! They have never been able to develop vaccines for the corona group of viruses because they tend to mutate rapidly And by the time a vaccine is developed, tested and approved, it is obsolete because the virus has mutated a number of times. The strain being experienced in The Bahamas now is definitely more contagious than the first, but also more less deadly. And the third wave will be short lived based on trends.

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bahamianson 3 months, 2 weeks ago

The work place is not a.hot spot, it is the employee whom is the mobile hotspot. The work place has done all it can do. It has used hand sanitizer , social distancing, mask wearing, wipe downs , and changing shifts for employees. That's all it can do. It is these lousy employees that continue to go to parties and have drunken sleepovers that are causing the problem! You can do all you can, but if one employee goes to a.family social gathering and brings it back to the work place, that's it, game over. Now, the business had to lose revenue because of an irresponsible employee.

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Bahamabird 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Rather than restricting the beaches , Minnis should encourage Bahamians (and residents) to get outside, get sunlight, get exercise and still practice wearing of masks, social distancing and other safer protocols. Vitamin D is so important and we have it naturally, yet a primary way for us to get it is being restricted by our government. Unfortunately, it also seems that the CMO has become a political operative whose statements now contemplate the political impact and not just health matters. Government officials should just give us the facts when addressing the Nation. Leave the politics to the politicians.

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JokeyJack 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Sunlight? D3? You talking health based on decades of knowledge on viruses and biology. Remember this is a NOVEL virus and we are all idiots who know nothing. Our directive is to follow "the science" and to "live" like zombies. I wonder if the vaccine will cause us to have an insatiable desire to eat brains? LOL.

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tribanon 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Renward's message to all civil servants:

The ministry of health is recommending that you do not go to your workplace while continuing to collect your full pay and benefits.

LOL

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trueBahamian 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Is that information useful? Saying a large percentage is workplace exposure isn't helpful. Is he removing police officers, doctors, nurses, etc. from thse figures? Shouldn't he provide a breakdown by sector such as retail, banking, construction, etc. By giving this level of detail it would be better to assess the situation. If you work in Wendy's for example, is the exposure to your coworkers that creates the issue ot your exposure to customers? The way he presented this seems quite useless. They need to provide data that clearly shows what's going on.

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Economist 3 months, 2 weeks ago

That is because the Government did and still has not required regular and mass testing. You can greatly reduce the spread by testing. That is why football teams and Universitys in the US are now testing,tracing and islolating. Other countries are testing their front line staff on a weekly and, sometimes more often, basis.

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TalRussell 3 months, 2 weeks ago

My Comrade Economist, we have no reason trust intent the invasions surrounding red regime when there is lots of evidence throw monkey wrench into how to begin to verify testing alone goin' get us out of this pandemic. Just need to look back at the monkey wrench thrown into how poorly the Central Red Regime responded to Hurricane Dorian.
Pretty sad reflection when Mr. Minnis begins to look like the most competent crown member er Majesty's cabinet.Shakehead once for Yeah your comrade not making this up. Twice for Not

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Economist 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Thanks Tal, I shake my head once.

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TalRussell 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Goin' furnish many thousands of voters with gamechanger to reflect back on the hefty price tag being footed on the other side their May 10, 2017, Perry Gladstone assumptions?

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John 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Donald Trump was also testing and the results? And more of his staff are and persons exposed to him are testing positive. So now they pondering how long was he positive. And if you test without rapid results, the tests are useless because of the potential spread between the time of the tests and the results.

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JokeyJack 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Also because no test can detect the virus within the first 3 or 4 days of infection (because there simply is not enough of them to be detected yet).

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ThisIsOurs 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Can someone PLEASE ask them for the percentage of persons infected while sitting in their cars parked at the beach?. Becayse we are paying people to drive around and tell Bahamians they can't park on the beach and enjoy the view. This is why we at 4000. Dumb rules. Meanwhile we miraculously allowed mass gatherings at funerals, just in time for the Saxons to honour their colleague

Not to mention we are about to open the borders to allow thousands of tourists in, (they hope) to have good times all over our beaches. but we cant park there.

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John 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Not only are they telling you you cannot park on the beaches, but they are also giving you $200.00 tickets for doing so. And some of these COVID ambassadors look like they need a dip or two in the waters themselves

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ohdrap4 3 months, 2 weeks ago

The WORK place is now a ‘hotspot’.”

Civil servants do not work. They have nothing to worry about.

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whogothere 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Chief Medical Officer Dr Pearl McMillan made the revelation Friday and acknowledged the statistics on COVID-19 exposure were not as complete as officials would like them to be.

Wow This is a profound understatement.

. .

We haven t done a census in 10 years, I believe 2014 was the last time there was any serious tally of what people actually get sick and die of in this country. Small surprise we can’t do it now... . . The concept excess death measurement is as obscure as the notion of Minnis actually so some sort plan... . .

Our poor country is really like a six year old at the costume store playing dress up we don t have a clue what we re doing...how appropriate the emergency powers are due to end the day before Halloween...maybe this ‘trick or treat’ fiasco of an emergency dictatorship will end...

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Amused 3 months, 2 weeks ago

The governments of the day never know what they are doing can't get nothing right and it's always a issue or wait with something with only 400k ppl or there about s. Imagine if we were as big as Jamaica population wise, we would be wayyyyyyy up S$&@ creek

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TalRussell 3 months, 2 weeks ago

When comes to the latest health minister it's not much hard to spot the sope the artificial Oral Roberts intelligence guiding the judgment calls crown's health minister. Shakehead once for Yeah. Twice for Not

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John 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Go ride pass the beaches right now and see the dozens of cars the Covid -19 ambassadors have lined up. Giving them tickets for just parking on the beach. Just a few minutes past the 12 o’clock closure. This can’t be right. In fact this is totally wrong, especially after Minnis himself said ‘who cares if you stay an hour or two after the closing ?’ And it is not a small matter. If a family of five is ticketed at $200 a person, that’s a total of $1,000! And imagine the trauma for the children who may have begged their parents to take them to the beach ! Minnis you have fumbled against the Bahamian people again ! Why are you punishing your people and inciting them to riot?

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JokeyJack 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Have any govt people given any reason why the beaches are of special concern? Does the virus travel farther or multiply faster in salty air rather than ordinary air? What do we do if you live within a mile or two of the beach and there is a strong wind coming from that direction? Is the virus blown in your direction? Do we wear a triple cloth mask that day? Do we wrap the cloth all the way around our head so no virus can "sneak" in through the side gaps on that day?
Is the sun harmful? Should we carry umbrellas when we go outside to protect us from the sun? Or is it a different sun that shines at the beach vs the one that shines downtown? I'm not trying to be silly. I'm asking if any govt people have answered those questions? Should tourists be warned about how much more dangerous our beaches are than beaches, say, in Miami?

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