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Plp Calls For More Testing And Tracing

PLP leader Philip 'Brave' Davis.

PLP leader Philip 'Brave' Davis.

By LEANDRA ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

lrolle@tribunemedia.net 

THE Progressive Liberal Party wants the government to expand its contact tracing team, provide free COVID-19 testing and create more testing centres, insisting the measures are necessary in order to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus amid the country’s second wave.

Saying the country is losing its fight against COVID-19, opposition leader Philip “Brave” Davis yesterday called on the government to follow his party’s recommendations as he released its COVID action plan on curbing the disease’s spread.

In a country where newly confirmed cases average between 500 to 600 weekly, Mr Davis said it is time for the Minnis administration to change its current course and adopt new strategies to better strengthen the country’s fight against the virus.

“We are now many months into this global health crisis,” the opposition leader said during yesterday’s press conference at the PLP’s headquarters.

“Some countries are succeeding, and some countries are failing. Right now, with 500 to 600 new cases on the dashboard every week and the real numbers significantly higher, The Bahamas is failing. But there is no reason we can’t change that. I want to be very clear on this point. We can succeed. There is a way forward.”

The measures propose free testing to all Bahamians who have been exposed to the virus, increased testing, expanded testing centres and additional contact tracers — something the PLP has repeatedly called for since the onset of the pandemic.

The party also recommends that healthcare workers and government employees on the front line be tested regularly.

Yesterday, the Cat Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador MP added: “If they were to adopt the plans that we are putting forward today, which starts off with the principles and overarching tools of that plan is testing and rapid results, contact tracing and rapid contact tracing, and treatment and isolation, if we start off with those key tools, we think that will be the answer to stopping transmission and getting us back to where we need to be.”

The party’s recommendations also include the introduction of a national education campaign to better educate Bahamians about the COVID threat.

Mr Davis said while he understands the measures recommended by his party are not inexpensive, preserving life is what’s most important.

“I think that the health crisis that we are now experiencing requires priority over anything else in this country at this time and choices and priority always define a government or a people,” he replied when asked if he thought more money should be allocated towards testing instead of other projects.

“And if you’re going to choose to dig up sidewalks over the health of your people, it tells you what kind of government you are. I would’ve thought a Brave Davis administration would be paying more attention to its people and its health rather than completing or restoring or building sidewalks.”

Last week, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis announced new restrictions for residents of New Providence and Abaco due to high COVID-19 case numbers on the islands, including a weekend lockdown and stricter curfew hours.

Health Minister Renward Wells told reporters on Tuesday health officials are recommending more stringent measures to prevent further community spread, particularly in New Providence.

Asked yesterday if he would support a stricter lockdown, Mr Davis replied: “Lockdowns don’t work…The purpose of lockdowns is to ensure that you put in place to give you time and the basic infrastructure to assist you and aid you in testing treatment and isolation.

“That is what lockdowns are for. Lockdowns are not to punish people, it is to give the government and the political directives the opportunity to put in place those infrastructure and tools that are necessary to defeat the virus. We have squandered all the time and look where we are now.”

Comments

Clamshell 2 weeks, 1 day ago

What’s the problem here? Can’t everybody who gets it just fly first-class over to Atlanta for treatment, as “Gravy” Davis did?

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GodSpeed 2 weeks, 1 day ago

Just what we need, a bunch of government lackeys tracking you.

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whogothere 2 weeks, 1 day ago

Test more - find more cases - panic - so you test. more - find more cases - panic....how do you spell casedemic? nah we need to get off the train.

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rodentos 2 weeks, 1 day ago

yeah it is already a vicious circle. Covid19 is the modern witch hunt!

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Clamshell 2 weeks, 1 day ago

Are you saying that if we also quit testing for diabetes and cancer, the Bahamas won’t have any more cases of diabetes and cancer? Fascinating. True genius. You might get the Nobel Prize in Medicine for that one.

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rodentos 2 weeks, 1 day ago

you should not be testing asymptomatic people. In contrary to cancer and diabetes which are systemic diseases, covid19 is a virus disease and it goes over. If you are not feeling sick you should not be tested, period.

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Clamshell 2 weeks, 1 day ago

Wrong, wrong, wrong ... both cancer and diabetes are frequently diagnosed before they are symptomatic. My wife is alive today because her asymptomatic breast cancer was diagnosed in a routine screening. “If you are not sick ... etc.” is nuts. President Trump was asymptomatic when he was diagnosed. Two days later he was in a hospital. As for “it goes over,” what does that even mean?

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whogothere 2 weeks, 1 day ago

I’m glad your wife was able to have that Routine screening, durning covid that might not have been possible because fear based COVID LOCKDOWN and TRAVEL RESTRICTION policy has made it impossible for many people. Policy is driven through interpretation of data, case increase is one such metric, but it’s meaningless..

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tribanon 2 weeks ago

I'm with you Clamshell. I have my regular blood work (lab tests) done at least once a year or more often as my primary care physician may recommend.

As regards Covid-19, if you are elderly or have a serious pre-existing medical condition, you should welcome more frequent and extensive testing throughout the community bearing in mind that one can be asymptomatic for the first week and then die from the most horrible ravaging symptoms by the end of the following week.

More testing will undoubtedly save lives because the sooner Covid-19 infections are detected and treated in higher risk patients, the better the outcomes will be for those patients. And that's just plain common sense given what we know right now about this potentially deadly virus.

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whogothere 2 weeks, 1 day ago

The point @clamshell is that mantra of ‘test more’ generates ‘panic’ when the number of covid ‘cases’ IS meaningless

1) because the PCR tests used have a specificity rate that is often so high that it picks up on viral fragments that are not infectous - essentially generating a false positive. NFL had to reinvent their testing mechanics as result. Huge percentage of PCR tests were giving a positive result to players that were not contagious and forced them on the bench. Sucks for football but in wider society as tool it’s a huge waste of time and resources.

2) Increase in cases doesn’t mean an increase in death or hospitalization and many cases are asymptomatic and thus ‘rarely’ transmitters of the virus - For example florida had more cases than New York but not as much death or destruction on the populous.

3) ‘A case’ isn’t relevant to any other health measure. 99% of them are mild. We don’t count cases of colds or the flu in this country. They don’t do it in the USA either - it’s a guess an algorithm... If we were counting, glorifying and reporting cardiovascular death in the way that we are covid then at 650-700 deaths per year In the Bahamas (almost 60 per month) then we’d be banning fried food and mandating runs. And doing forced fitness tests on population - but we are not. So for all intents and purpose we aren’t ‘testing’ for the symptoms of the biggest killers in the country - which ultimately are eating habits and poor exercise, it’s doesn’t make vascular disease go a way but society hasn’t shut down as a result.

4) On that note you are right we should be counting all death and all diseases equally as we are COVID so we can see that comparatively it’s risk is minimal and possibly not worth the damage through policy it’s inflicting on the rest of society by depriving people of the opportunity to have cancer tests, diabetics and renal treatments. Or driving increases suicides, overdoes, malnutrition, crime among collateral events that are terrible for public health.

In short test - more cases - panic - test - more cases - panic is not a useful device to understand the threat of the virus poses to our society as it glorifies one disease at ignorance of others and as such has myopic few of public health. It’s not quite quit testing, it’s stop using a meaningless value to somehow evaluate the impact of the pandemic. Test when you need to enter a hospital, or visit granny not simply more tests for everyone.

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ColumbusPillow 2 weeks, 1 day ago

In most of the Family Islands there are no testing facilities. However the Ministry requires that all visitors to the Bahamas must be tested 5 days after arrival. Therefore most of the family islands are off limits for any visitors These Bahamians are going to have a pretty rough Xmas this year.

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whogothere 2 weeks, 1 day ago

Government is supposedly allowing and providing rapid antigen tests that can be deployed without a facility. Essentially a preg test for covid.

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ColumbusPillow 2 weeks ago

That would be really good news for the Family Islands if you could EXPAND on the meaning of the word "supposedly" please.

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whogothere 2 weeks ago

Supposedly = best laid plans versus reality. I think they will work it out but looks like they will supply antigen tests and then charge for them through health visas. There is talk of airlines also providing antigens test before boarding at private FB0 and large commercial airline such as American united...supposedly;)

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tribanon 2 weeks ago

Repost from above:

I'm with you Clamshell. I have my regular blood work (lab tests) done at least once a year or more often as my primary care physician may recommend.

As regards Covid-19, if you are elderly or have a serious pre-existing medical condition, you should welcome more frequent and extensive testing throughout the community bearing in mind that one can be asymptomatic for the first week and then die from the most horrible ravaging symptoms by the end of the following week.

More testing will undoubtedly save lives because the sooner Covid-19 infections are detected and treated in higher risk patients, the better the outcomes will be for those patients. And that's just plain common sense given what we know right now about this potentially deadly virus.

1

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