By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Tribune Chief Reporter
THE Bahamas has not yet turned the corner in its fight against COVID-19, a senior physician yesterday insisted, adding that at this “critical” juncture the nation’s plan needs reworking.
Consultant Physicians Staff Association (CPSA) president Sabriquet Pinder-Butler told The Tribune that given increasing COVID-19 numbers, the population has failed to pull together in a concerted effort to combat the deadly disease.
A proponent for lockdowns, she said the tool will only work when combined with other measures.
According to Dr Pinder-Butler, there is also a need for more contact tracers and additional testing.
“I think we wouldn’t be turning any corners right now because I think the COVID situation in the country as well as globally is still critical,” the CPSA president told The Tribune yesterday. “We’re definitely not seeing any downturns at this point in time. I think we are still seeing increased capacities of cases and over capacities of healthcare institutions at this moment.”
Asked about the public health strategy currently in use, she said: “I think that we agree that we need to refocus and try to re-strategise on the best way possible to get our population in general on the same page.
“I think we’re still not seeing a concerted enough effort of all of us in terms of the preventative measures to halt the spread of COVID-19 in the country. I think we’re still not doing sufficient in terms of wearing our masks, social distancing, ensuring that we isolate and or quarantine when we know that we have COVID. That is still not happening.
“We’re not being our brothers’ keeper as we should and so as much as we may have restrictions lockdowns and different things along those lines we have to do that simultaneously because even if we have these things and we don’t do the other things we will still continue to have the spread of COVID-19 and I think that’s what’s hurting us the most in our country at this time.
“(With) the contact tracing obviously (we need) more capacity with that,” she continued. “We need more numbers especially with the numbers that we’ve seen. Increased testing would obviously be a good thing as well for us to know and confirm persons.
“There are a lot of people who if they don’t get tested they do not feel that they’re having COVID-19 symptoms, but the flip side to that is there are people who you also encourage to get tested and they won’t go to get tested because they don’t believe they have COVID either or they don’t want to consider even knowing what’s happening in the country and in the world that its COVID because they want to continue to go to the store, continue to go out as usual and a lot of them, if they don’t have major symptoms, they don’t feel that there is a need for them to even truly know.
“So, there are so many things that come into play and that’s why I think it’s important for all of us to appreciate that we have to keep all of the things in line.”
Health professionals are also concerned about reinfections.
Multiple international news agencies are reporting that the US recorded its first case of COVID-19 reinfection.
A man in the United States has reportedly contracted the respiratory virus twice, with the second infection becoming far more dangerous than the first.
The 25-year-old needed hospital treatment after his lungs could not get enough oxygen into his body.
However, reinfections remain rare and the man has now recovered.
In this regard Dr Pinder-Butler said it is important that everyone does their part.
“When we look at the fact that we’re hoping that numbers would start to be on a consistent decline and then you see new cases coming up again it’s like okay, we are hoping for a light at the end of the tunnel, but we might also be having another bout of darkness and flu season is upon us. It is something to be concerned about, which is why I think the main thing we have to do right now is to make sure that we continue to encourage each other as we’re going through these things. Continue to educate the public about COVID and the measures to take to safeguard all of us.
“We are having concerns about that, but we will have to see how best we’ll have to help ourselves as we battle our way through COVID-19.”
Back in August, consultant physicians said they were disheartened by the alarming number of patient deaths related to COVID-19, sparked by an exponential increase in cases when the country re-opened its borders in July.
At the time Dr Pinder-Butler said the surge in cases had not only significantly strained medical workers, but main health facilities now have no more space for COVID-19 positive people.
The situation, she said, has stretched teams beyond measure.