US Embassy quiet on numbers of construction site cases


Tribune Chief Reporter


WHILE construction at the US Embassy’s new site resumed last week after suspected COVID-19 cases were reported, officials have declined to reveal the number of virus-related incidents tied to the ongoing project.

Last month, the embassy’s public affairs officer, Daniel Durazo, confirmed that there had been “one or more suspected cases” of COVID-19 among private contractors.

As a result, work was suspended, but resumed on August 2 after the situation had been contained.

Asked to reveal how many of the workers tested positive, Mr Durazo said: “Due to privacy concerns, we are unable to share details on the number of cases.

“However, we can confirm that the outbreak has been successfully contained and there have been no new positive cases since July 30. All workers are required to present a negative COVID-19 test and certify that they are free of any symptoms before returning to work.

“All workers are also required to be symptom-free before receiving their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. If they have previously tested positive, all workers must present a negative COVID-19 test in order to receive the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.”

Additionally, he said all workers who were in isolation completed their mandatory quarantines.

As it stands, 242 workers, or approximately 60 percent of the total workforce, have received at least their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and all workers regardless of vaccination status continue to follow the appropriate mask, social distancing, and handwashing guidelines.

Mr Durazo said officials remain concerned about rising virus cases around the world and urged Bahamians to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

“The embassy is concerned about the rise in COVID-19 cases in many parts of the world as the Delta variant continues to spread. We urge the Bahamian people to get vaccinated as soon as they are able, and to continue to follow COVID-19 prevention protocols.

“As we have throughout the pandemic, we will continue to support the government and people of The Bahamas in combating the spread of COVID-19 and sharing accurate information about the pandemic, vaccination efforts, and other public health guidance.”

The US government has provided over $1.35m in direct COVID-19 assistance to The Bahamas – including respirators, diagnostic equipment, testing kits, PPE, mobile tents, and more.

This is in addition to the two separate Rhode Island National Guard missions to help distribute COVID-19 vaccines to the Family Islands and doesn’t include ongoing assistance on disaster preparedness and response, Mr Durazo said.


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