This is not the time for residents to let their guard down, nor to become complacent in the fight against the global pandemic, Ministry of Health’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Pearl McMillian lamented in a recent COVID-19 national update.
“This is no time to risk harm to yourself or to your loved ones. COVID-19 is roaming, seeking whom it may destroy,” she said.
While the number of positive COVID-19 cases on New Providence continue to decrease, she noted, there was a cause for concern on the increasing numbers on Grand Bahama, as well.
Dr. Frank Bartlett, head of Grand Bahama’s COVID- 19 Task Force, noted that the recent spike in local cases was isolated to the industrial sector.
“The cases in Grand Bahama would have been in the industrial sector. The teams that they would have had at the site, for a project that was ongoing there, would have contracted infection from one of the persons who would have worked at the site.
“They would have been quarantined and the investigations that we have so far, is that we have all of those infected (positive cases) that we would have seen, localized to one area,” he revealed.
He added that the team looked at the whole outlay as to what is happening in the community and is gathering data.
However, he admitted, there are a number of challenges.
“One of the challenges that we are having right now as it relates to doing a proper analysis or clarifying more of the situation as to what is going on in the community, is that the data we have is a challenge. It is not so much because of the analysis, but because of the data and information that we are getting from persons who have contracted the illness.
“If we get inaccurate data from those persons, or we are not getting any information from them at all, it really gives us a harder time to do the analysis or to come up with a clear picture as to what is going on in the community,” stated Bartlett.
He furthered that there is hope to successfully combat the increase.
“The whole thought process now, as it relates to Grand Bahama, when you look at the clusters that we have on the island, the other cases that we have no explanation for appear to be more sporadic as it relates to community spread. In areas where we have identified that there are an increased number of positive cases, we recommend targeted restrictions instead of having complete lockdowns. Once we can identify those then hopefully we will be able to curtail the increase that we are seeing with that as opposed to putting our community in not so nice conditions with the lockdowns,” he said.
Dr. McMilllian added that when recommendations are made to the Competent Authority to restrict movement within communities, it is based on what health officials are seeing on the ground, in addition to what they have been monitoring over a period of time.
“The longer you wait to actually put measures in place to actually contain the spread of the virus, the longer it takes and the harder it is for us to actually have containment. We would make recommendations as we begin to see certain trends occurring, for example, in the case of Exuma, which was the latest island to receive restrictive measures by the Competent Authority.
“In Exuma, this was the case,” emphasized the CMO.