By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Tribune Chief Reporter
THE country recorded 2,489 cases of COVID-19 in the first clinically monitored week of 2022, according to Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Phillip Swann.
Although high, the number reflected a “lesser increase” when compared with the previous two weeks when there were increased infections in The Bahamas.
More specifically, earlier weeks of the fourth wave of the pandemic went from a low of 80 new infections per week, to a high of an estimated 2,640 per week.
Dr Swann added it is his hope that the country was “cresting” this wave of the pandemic.
“Two weeks ago, we spoke on the increasing trend of positive cases reflected in the daily reports of RT-PCR testing received by the Ministry of Health and Wellness,” Dr Swann said during a virtual town hall meeting on Tuesday night where health officials answered questions from viewers.
“And as we began to look at the data and trends, we pause to take a look at where we are today compared with where we have been during the early phases of the pandemic.
“What was depicted at the last presentation is now as a significant increase of cases and if you look at the ending part of this graph which depicts the experience of the fourth wave. We went from about 80 cases per week to 207 per week to 1,044 per week then doubled to 2,640 per week.
“Most recent reports for the first epi-week in this year shows a total of 2,489 cases and what that shows is that we are seeing a lesser increase than in the previous two weeks where there were orders of magnitude in the increased numbers.
“It is my personal hope that we are cresting this wave, that is my personal hope, but time will tell.”
An epi-week, or epidemiological week, is simply a standardised method of counting weeks to allow for the comparison of data year after year.
The first epi-week of the year ends, by definition, on the first Saturday of January, as long as it falls at least four days into the month.
Dr Swann said the “erratic” nature in the test reporting was due in part to the fact that the past three weekends were followed by public holidays, which delayed the usual timely reporting of labs.
Hospitalisations have also shown a steady, but marked increase, Dr Swann said.
“The numbers have stabilised at around 120 for the past few days, but it is important to note that these numbers reflect a significant proportion of individuals that are admitted for other conditions, but would have tested positive for COVID-19,” he said.
He added that the ministry was working to reflect this experience in a more succinct way to provide a measure of reassurance to the public about the actual illness spectrum of admitted cases.
Additionally, vaccination efforts remain active with 156,777 persons fully inoculated.
According to the latest information from the Ministry of Health, 241 new cases of COVID-19 were recorded on January 11, bringing the nation’s toll since the start of the pandemic to 29,730.
The latest data shows 125 people in hospital, with six of them in the intensive care unit.