By FARRAH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
SIXTEEN people tested positive for COVID-19 after the Ministry of Health conducted a mass testing exercise at a workplace in Cat Cay last week.
One of the confirmed cases had a recent history of travel to the United States, health officials revealed.
In a statement, the ministry said a total of 175 individuals were tested at a Cat Cay workplace last Thursday. They added that all 16 of the employees who tested positive for the virus were asymptomatic.
The Tribune made several attempts to contact health officials and the general manager of the workplace in question for an update on the matter yesterday. However, no calls were returned up to press time.
According to the latest report from the Ministry of Health, although 15 deaths are currently under investigation, no COVID related fatalities were documented last week. This means that the current death toll still stands at 179. The country also recorded 92 new infections last week — bringing the nation’s total to 8,462. Six of those cases had a recent history of travel. The week prior saw 83 confirmed cases.
Thursday and Friday had the highest number of confirmed infections last week, with 16 and 34 cases reported for those days respectively. Nine additional cases were recorded on Saturday.
As the week progressed, the number of hospitalisations decreased despite some slight fluctuations. There were 16 patients hospitalised last Sunday, 16 on Monday, 17 on Tuesday, 18 on Wednesday, 17 on Thursday, 15 on Friday and 14 as of Saturday. Only one person in the capital had to be admitted to the intensive care unit.
Last week, health officials revealed that almost 30 percent of new positive COVID-19 cases recorded in New Providence and Grand Bahama over the past two weeks were identified as clusters – some of which were connected to the workplace and large social gatherings.
During the Health Ministry’s virtual press conference, Chief Medical Officer Dr Pearl McMillan said four clusters had been identified by their contact tracing unit over the last 14 days. She also said that one particular cluster had as many as 26 cases.
“The second wave of the COVID-19 wave in The Bahamas has been protracted now at 231 days and counting,” she said. “Our collective diligence and consistency in adhering to both public health measures and emergency orders have been key to our country’s incremental or phased reopening of the economy and it will aid us in getting to the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The ministry urges all citizens and residents to keep their guard up and adhere to the recommended health precautions.
“Continue to wear a mask at all times whilst outside the home, keep physically distant and wash your hands regularly,” the ministry said. “Remember, just because a person is not sick, does not mean that he cannot have COVID-19.
“If you have symptoms of COVID-19, do not wait. First, contact your health provider. While home remedies may work for a period, it is important to get tested and receive the proper care before symptoms become too difficult to manage. If you have been asked by the Surveillance Unit to get tested for COVID-19, please follow the advice and take the gold standard RT-PCR test. Employees are encouraged to work from home.”