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‘We’ve flattened the curve’

HEALTH Minister Dr Duane Sands.

HEALTH Minister Dr Duane Sands.

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Tribune Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

HEALTH Minister Dr Duane Sands said officials have managed to “flatten the curve” by having a maximum of six COVID-19 cases on any given day, but this does not mean the nation is out of the woods.

While giving local statistics on the disease, he said women account for 60 percent of the cases, but only represent 36 percent of the COVID-19 deaths.

“While we continue to have cases, and the unfortunate deaths, we have managed to flatten the curve by having a maximum of six cases diagnosed on any one day and our acute care institutions have not been overwhelmed with assessment and management of COVID cases,” Dr Sands said. “We are not out of the woods by any stretch. We must continue the public health and social measures implemented. It is our best chance for us to make the best outcome of this unfortunate situation for all.”

To ensure the country remains on this path, Dr Sands said detection will “very soon” include testing for any person wishing to know their COVID-19 status. These people will be able to have tests done at approved private labs. However, the minister did not announce a timeline for this portion of test expansion.

However, the government has tested around 200 high-risk healthcare workers at Princess Margaret Margaret Hospital. While tests are still being conducted, preliminary findings, he said, were that 25 percent of the tests yielded negative results. Fifteen confirmed cases and one death has come from this vulnerable group.

Previously, officials said other vulnerable groups including eldercare homes and the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services would also be the focus of priority testing, but Dr Sands told Parliament yesterday the focus has shifted to people who may have come into contact with at-risk medical workers.

Apart from this, Dr Sands said officials now have data to understand more about how the virus has spread throughout communities. He said most recently it has been found that Bimini is emerging as a COVID-19 hotspot, while New Providence accounts for 80 percent of the cases. The Bahamas’ case fatality ratio stands at 13.8 percent, he said.

As of April 26, there have been 80 confirmed cases, with 11 deaths. Twenty-one days prior, there had been 29 cases. Eight of 80 confirmed cases are hospitalised in serious or critical condition at Doctors Hospital West.

“The total number of 80 cases represents a 121 percent increase over the last report,” Dr Sands told Parliament yesterday. “Of the total cases, 22 have recovered and 47 remain active. As may be expected, most of the cases 64 are in New Providence accounting for 80 percent of all cases.

“Grand Bahama, Bimini and Cat Cay account for the remainder of cases with seven and nine cases, respectively.

“Females account for 60 percent of all cases although only thirty-six 36 percent of deaths. Most cases, both sexes, fall in the age group 40-59 years. The case fatality ratio now stands at 13.8 percent. What is extremely notable is that Bimini has emerged as a hot spot for the COVID-19 virus in The Bahamas.”

He continued: “Current data in my ministry on this outbreak, supports the view that spread of COVID in The Bahamas is occurring mostly through community transmission, recording just one imported case early in the outbreak and four import-related cases. The remaining 75 cases have all been determined to have occurred through spread of the virus within the country.”

Of these cases there have been 48 women and 32 men.

There have also been successes, Dr Sands said.

“Moreover, what is our unsung success, Mr Speaker, is that we now have a total of 22 persons who have recovered from COVID-19. This simply means that they are no longer shedding the virus and infecting others.”

However the deaths, 11 in total, have affected those most vulnerable. Their ages range from 50 to 91.

“All these cases remain in the category of the most vulnerable. There are seven males and four females; and one of the deceased is from Bimini, eight from New Providence and two from Grand Bahama.

“The case fatality ratio of The Bahamas stands at 13.8 percent. Now the case fatality ratio is a measure of severity of a disease. It is calculated by comparing the number of cases that have died from COVID-19 to the number of cases of the disease. Notwithstanding the significant level of co- morbid illnesses that have contributed to this level of lethality, we expect the case fatality rate to fall as we liberalise the criteria for testing. More tests...more positive cases.”

Case confirmation, Dr Sands said, is tied to laboratory testing capacity. Significant strides continue to be made in this area.

The Bahamas has accepted 1,000 donated RT PCR test kits as well as more than 700 RNA extractor kits and other reagents required for testing.

Despite an inventory of at least 4,000 RT PCR kits, he said officials remain challenged to expand testing to reach the elusive goal of testing-on-demand because of international supply chain limitations.

He said currently, the country’s swab inventory stands at 1,100 swabs remaining and the government’s lab is currently exploring multiple avenues for enhanced capacity. On order are 3D printed swabs, validation of samples such as sputum instead of nasopharyngeal swabs and locally produced viral transport media, he said.

Comments

Bahamaland231 4 years, 1 month ago

How can you flatten the curve when you dont test enough to know what the curve is.

tell_it_like_it_is 4 years, 1 month ago

Flattened what curve exactly??
You don't even know half the number of people who are infected here because of a lack of testing. This junk science y'all are using to justify closing all these businesses for yet another 30 days makes no sense.

I mean if they ramped up testing and the number of cases shot up let's say in a week due to more testing (while lowering the mortality rate) then this would make sense. Then if you kept up with large scale testing and the number of cases went down, then you can say the curve was flattened. But for now this is all just guess work... and not even educated guessing! smh

Bear in mind, Sands was the same person all over the news when the news of this first broke in China saying that the seasonal flu kills more people (not considering the death rate of the seasonal flu is 0.1 % ). Sorry Sands, your reliability on this has been shaky from the beginning.

If you're not going to use any real science to determine anything, let the businesses open up for more days with masks and social distancing.

OriginalBey 4 years, 1 month ago

Have we tested 1,000 people yet? 200 healthcare workers in quarantine and we have done what? I mussy born big as I is!

jackbnimble 4 years, 1 month ago

Dr Sands lies standing up. He said they were prepared for the virus but yet when that poor lady in Bimini got it there were no emergency measures in place to bring her to Nassau resulting in her death. Then he announces weeks later that they now have emergency containers to transport civics patients. Wait a minute. Shouldn’t this have been in place before the first case showed up? I truly believe they are not giving us the full story and a lot is being hidden and covered up with press releases and briefings under pretense of being prepared when truly they are just winging it and haven’t got a clue what to do.

Well_mudda_take_sic 4 years, 1 month ago

We could not see a more embarrassing and frankly disgraceful effort by our government to hoodwink and bamboozle the public by throwing literally tons of unsupportable and non-sensical spaghetti data against the wall and hoping it sticks on account of their presumption that the average Bahamian is as stupid as they come. And to hear Minnis try to justify 'his orders' by somehow quantifying the lives 'he' has managed to save really takes the cake! Lord give us the strength we so desperately need to deal with both the health threat of covid-19 and the tyrannical threat of Minnis.

joeblow 4 years, 1 month ago

Any "flattening of the curve" has occurred because of exposure to the virus, not because their lock-down is working We have a fixed population, only so many people can get infected. Repeated exposure means an increase in cases, but it also means an increase in those who are exposed and do not develop symptoms and now have antibodies to the virus.

This country has to start antibody testing to get some idea of how many people may have already been exposed, were asymptomatic and are now over the infection so we can start to get those people back to work!!.

Well_mudda_take_sic 4 years, 1 month ago

Problem is, great uncertainties remain about the level of antibodies one must have in their system to avoid re-infection. Apparently the level of antibodies one developes may depend on the extent to which they were originally exposed to the virus. There is a growing school of thought that many who test positive for covid-19 antibodies may in fact still be vulnerable to re-infection, possibly with more severe symptoms. This is likely to present a big problem both for developing tests that can be relied on to avoid spread and on the development of an effective vaccine.

joeblow 4 years, 1 month ago

.. One of the issues was whether or not people were antibody positive for SARS or COVID-19 since there is some cross reactivity between some of the viral proteins. The specificity and sensitivity of tests have improved of late (the Brits have recently developed a new test) and once there is some evidence that a person is likely to have had the disease (COVID-19) by showing antibodies to past infection, we can take a chance at allowing them to work instead of locking them down with those who are antibody negative or have antibodies showing recent infection. For this purpose levels of antibodies is not as important. There is no clear evidence that a person can get this virus twice.

ohdrap4 4 years, 1 month ago

Lies, damned lies, and statistics

TalRussell 4 years, 1 month ago

Becoming hardly a noticeable distinction in what the colony's pair comrades health minister and, First among equals will decide to procreate in between what's spun likes tree wood's spinning top official medically scientifically researched pronouncements. Can't just make this shi# up, just, can't. Nod once for yeah, twice for no?

DDK 4 years, 1 month ago

The two docs just playing politics, pure and simple. All businesses, not just just cronies', need to be allowed to reopen if they so please and if they are still able. Exception: numbers houses.

TalRussell 4 years, 1 month ago

Ma Comrade DDK, here something officials might want comment on. I've heard street talk that since the month March, Numbers Winners are still going unpaid their winnings due to business curfew?

Well_mudda_take_sic 4 years, 1 month ago

A very telling statistic of any distortive effect(s), deliberate or otherwise, would be public dsiclosure of the average number of recorded deaths that occurred from all causes during the first four months of each of the three years 2017, 2018 and 2019, compared to the same four month period of 2020. But don't hold your breath to get this very telling information from either Sands or Minnis!

TalRussell 4 years, 1 month ago

What isn' exactly so Christian-likes about your governing ways? Let me tell you House elected 35!
If you didn't know better why wouldn't think the House elected 35 comrade Imperialists redshirts have a hangup when it comes to officially account true dead or their smooth and speedy internment......considering, they've never managed to get around to burying the 55 Hurricane Dorian dead they willfully left in some godforsaken rental refrigeration trailer left parked outside months whilst on some yet undisclosed parking lot?
The sensible could be expected want to believe that this is all made up. Well, it isn't! God Save us beloved comrade sister Queen Liz. Nod once for yeah, twice for no?

DDK 4 years, 1 month ago

And that Comrade is even more disgraceful than the lack of power, water and garbage collection going on these past eight months. Not to mention now compounded by nary a bottle of beer, alphabet grocery shopping and, of course, no home-baked brownies 😝

DDK 4 years, 1 month ago

If these two docs don't stop this stupid game of tag we shall soon suffer a fate worse than Greece.

Bonefishpete 4 years, 1 month ago

Don't know about the curve but they sure did Flatten the economy.

TalRussell 4 years, 1 month ago

Imperialists' redshirts government are in possession death projections once they flung wide-open the doors colony's businesses, churches, and schools. Bare them, before comrade PopoulacesOrdinary at-large!

regrolli 4 years, 1 month ago

Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.

The_Oracle 4 years, 1 month ago

Am I right in saying, and as read online, that while we have test kits, we are short of the yard long swabs they shove up your nose ? Test kits are useless without those.

joeblow 4 years, 1 month ago

... there are two kinds of kits one to determine if you have the virus now (that uses swabs in the nose) the other to determine with a finger prick whether or not you have antibodies that show that you already had the infection. They seem to have issues with both kinds of kits!

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