By LEANDRA ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE Bahamas recorded more than 550 confirmed COVID-19 cases last week, with health data suggesting that the number of cases could continue to increase for the country in the days ahead.
The latest COVID-19 dashboard accounts for Saturday’s data, which recorded 77 new COVID-19 cases, pushing the count to 4,409 with 1,903 of those active.
Seventy of the new cases were recorded for New Providence, six in Grand Bahama and one in Eleuthera. Meanwhile, Friday saw a whopping 96 new confirmed cases - with 88 confirmed in New Providence and one in Grand Bahama. The locations of the other six cases were pending as of Friday.
As for deaths, health officials said the toll stood at 96 up to Saturday, with 18 still under investigation. Sunday’s tally was not released up to press time.
However, speaking during a Ministry of Health Press conference on Friday, Chief Medical Officer Dr Pearl McMillan said one out of every 100 Nassau residents have been infected with the virus.
She also noted that health officials have not yet seen a flattening of the curve for New Providence. This comes after Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said last month that the country appeared to be nearing the second wave.
However, the chief medical officer said on Friday: “Though daily new cases fluctuate with peaks in early and late September, a flattening is not being preserved given the increasing height of the orange line. The stark reality is one in every 100 Nassauvians have been infected with COVID-19. Of importance, the hill curve suggests that the number of new cases in New Providence will continue to increase and follow the projected path.”
She also said the nation’s COVID-19 positivity rate has remained consistent at around 22 to 29 percent, with the Bahamas’ mortality rate set at 2.27 per cent.
Out of the 555 new cases confirmed last week—according to data provided from last Monday to Saturday—New Providence accounted for the majority, with 499 cases. This was followed by Grand Bahama, which recorded 14 cases last week and then Abaco which saw ten new cases. Smaller numbers were recorded on other islands or were listed as “location pending”.
Again, Sunday’s data was not available up to press time.
Health officials said while Grand Bahama has made steady progress in its fight against the novel coronavirus, New Providence and Abaco continue to be a cause for concern.
Dr Gillian Bartlett, who heads the Family Islands COVID-19 task force, said of Abaco cases on Friday: “What we’re seeing on grounds of Abaco is definitely an increase of COVID, mostly on mainland Abaco Cooper’s Town, Marsh Harbour and also in Sandpoint area, we’re just having a lot of persons presenting to our clinics with side symptoms of COVID.
“…And when you contact trace, you also find that those persons (who they) have been in close contact with are also coming down with symptoms so that seems to be widening the spread in Abaco and it definitely is an island of concern.”
On Sunday, Dr Minnis said his administration will consult with Pan American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation officials to discuss new preventive strategies about the way forward, especially as it relates to New Providence.