‘Increase in cases could have impact on patients and staff at hospital’


Dr Duane Sands


Tribune Staff Reporter


FORMER Health Minister Dr Duane Sands says while Princess Margaret Hospital is capable of handling the recent increase of COVID cases, the situation could potentially cause “implications and repercussions” for patients and staff of the medical facility.

With the total number of COVID-19 cases now exceeding the 10,000 mark, health officials say the country is now facing its third wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

When The Tribune spoke to Dr Sands yesterday about the impact the most recent surge could have on the country’s public health facility, he admitted it was a “challenge for any health system to cope with the current issues of COVID,” but said he still believed PMH could handle the uptick in newly confirmed cases.

“Yes, it can handle it, but it will handle it with implications and repercussions,” he said. “So, there will probably be a reduction in non-emergency cases and there will probably be no room in the inn for certain types of cases.

“Bear in mind that The Bahamas suffers from a health demographic which is most unfortunate (with) a lot of hypertension, diabetes, obesity, heart disease and we are the poster child for ill health. So, when you have a chronically ill society and you now add an additional challenge, the health system has difficulty meeting that challenge.”

For most of last week, the country recorded more than 50 new cases a day, which Dr Sands said is “unsustainable in terms of the impact”.

According to the latest information from the Ministry of Health, there were 49 cases in hospital. Of this figure, 15 were at PMH, 18 were at Doctors Hospital, six were at the South Beach Acute Care and Referral Centre, and 10 were at Grand Bahama Health Services.

Dr Sands said since those patients “have to be cared for”, it means the people treating them “are not available to take care of other people”.

When asked how close he believed the healthcare institution was to being overwhelmed, Dr Sands said that health officials were “starting from a baseline of a nursing shortage” due to nurses retiring and transferring out of the system.

“We have lost an incredible number of nurses over the last 12 months who have gone on to other posts in developed countries and that has exacerbated the nursing shortage in The Bahamas,” he said.

“And when you add to that nurses that have had to leave work because they are quarantined (and) physicians that have had to leave work because they’re quarantined, we’ve seen this movie before and I’m afraid we didn’t learn all that we ought to have learned from it.”

He said despite the increase of COVID cases, the public as a collective does not appear to be “as concerned as they needed to be” with curbing the spread of the virus since there were still many people violating the health and safety protocols.

“I just drove by several places and saw many, many people congregating without masks right up on top of each other, ‘tight up’ as we say, and the implications for that, particularly with a surge in COVID, will unfortunately be devastating and deadly... I hope and pray that (things) don’t get worse, but looking at the trend this is a horribly worrisome trend and I fear that things might indeed get worse before they get better and considerably worse.”

Dr Sands said in view of this fact, it was “critically important” for everyone to understand they needed to abide by the Emergency Orders by wearing their masks, sanitising their hands and practising social distancing in their interactions regardless of whether they received the vaccine or not.

He said it was also crucial to be mindful of the new strains of the virus since some of the COVID-19 variants recently discovered have “wreaked havoc around the world”.

“Just look at what’s happening in India, what happened in the UK, what’s happening in the United States and so any country that is looking at any surge in its COVID cases, has to be concerned about variants because the variants now may elude, to some degree, even the vaccinations that are available,” Dr Sands explained.

“While that is not an absolute phenomenon it’s a relative phenomenon and so we have to move very aggressively, we can’t’ let our guard down, we cannot take our eyes off the prize and that is that even though we may be tired of COVID, sick and tired of wearing masks, sick and tired of not being able to interact freely, this surge is not going anywhere and as a matter of fact, it’s back.”


carltonr61 2 years, 7 months ago


Covid doom and gloom professional profiteers New And Emerging Technologies millionaires have had their time. The fat woman still conjuring up her witches brew of new strains on her fear and profit coldron. She has murdered the church for Gates profit. Murdered our family life murdered our tourism. Murdered our children's education and social health for two years, as their boss Gates revealed, for professional profit. While Bahamian poor people stand on food lines how much millions was she paid giving advise to lock us down, starve us and place police boots on coconut and street side preacher vendors for liscences. They loved us by starving us and we see evidence gates is giving that it was all for their profits and self agrandizement. They are our Knights and queens madams and ladies for home jailing us rodeo corralled cattle to be branded with AZ brand slave passes to work, to eat, to vote to buy food. India population of 1.3billion people. Do that math yourselves then see these gangsters imposing fear. More people in India die from daily car accidents, natural causes and snake bites.


FreeUs242 2 years, 7 months ago

Massacres happening globally but you wouldn't hardly hear on those things only Covid news.


carltonr61 2 years, 7 months ago

There is hope that well meaning young Bahamians have The DNA as the medical hijacking of our muti billion dollar tourist industry to join Gates profit for travel vaccine new economy seems to have floundered. Complicit by design. First yin then yang. They draw your trust by seeming to go against leaders then switch into leaders hated clothing. Money money money. They don't care about us. Diabolical gangsters liers and thieves.


John 2 years, 7 months ago

Many people are suffering from Corona fatigue. They are coming to a point where they will do anything to cause this Corona to go away. Including taking the vaccine. They just want to get it over with. They want it gone. Vulnerable..yes


ThisIsOurs 2 years, 7 months ago

"so any country that is looking at any surge in its COVID cases, has to be concerned about variants "

This is what I could not understand going back to February WAAAAYYYY before Easter break. Someone should have been breaking dlwn doors shouting emergency emergency. At that time, after 3 months of calm, suddenly people started dying again. Something was different. But these guys started doing dumb stuff like mass gatherings at campaign headquarters, whistling past the graveyard


carltonr61 2 years, 7 months ago

I feel like a young slave leaving Africa for a new world as going on two years of stress, restrictions, curfew, home jail, cannot funeralize loved ones, no laughter face to face with life long friends, church restrictions, branded by vaccine AZ and addicted to cell phone - we have all been systematically transformed never to see our old ways again. Following Covid we will face Gates ban on real meat and we will be forced coerced to eat only green and synthetic meat. As our grandchildren are glued to phones they ares being programmed to not eat meat.


proudloudandfnm 2 years, 7 months ago

Looking thru the comments....

Damn. Some dumb people in this world...


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