By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Tribune Chief Reporter
ROUGHLY 10 percent of the COVID-19 antigen tests that were offered free of charge by the government in New Providence had a positive result, according to press officer Jillian Gray yesterday.
“We’ve seen 2,546 tests completed with 256 of those tests presented positive,” she said yesterday during a press briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister.
The Davis administration’s free testing programme was rolled out in the capital less than a week ago as cases surged in the country.
Yesterday, OPM communications director Latrae Rahming said the government had maintained its plan to arrest the COVID-19 pandemic while also making decisions in the best interest of the economy.
Some people have criticised the government for opting not to enforce more strict measures in the country in response to higher numbers of positive cases caused by what is believed to be the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
This comes as 178 new cases of the coronavirus were recorded in the country on Wednesday - the lowest number of infections so far this month.
However two new deaths were added to the nation’s toll — pushing the number to 717. The deceased are both Grand Bahama men — a 68-year-old who died on December 25, 2021 and a 73 year old who died on December 27, 2021.
“One of the things that we are reminded of in our COVID action plan, we said that we would be guided by the science at all times and respect our health officials,” Mr Rahming said yesterday. “So, in the previous administration there was a view that a response to COVID-19 was lockdowns and curfews.
“We do know that the government has more tools in its kit to respond to the overall virus. We take advice from the medical field on a daily basis. The Prime Minister to the Minister of Health and the EOC is guided on what should be the policy response on restrictions.
“On understanding the virus, the ultimate goal of the government is to ensure that the hospital infrastructure is not compromised in so far as hospitalisations being at a point the government can manage and so there are things that would trigger a more robust police response from the government of The Bahamas.
“We believe, and it continues to be our view at this time, that lockdowns and curfews are not required to respond to this outbreak. What we have done in our policy response is to ensure that persons know their status.”
He continued: “If you needed to get a COVID test you could. If you needed a medical grade mask you could. We also recruited nurses to help in this effort and we also improved our infrastructure at the Princess Margaret Hospital to ensure that there is a robust response from the healthcare sector and for the first time in this pandemic we are making the health experts available for questions through town hall so persons have the information to protect themselves in this fourth wave.”