Health Minister reports on decline of COVID-19 Cases

Nassau, Bahamas - Minister of Health the Hon. Renward Wells said the Ministry of Health is happy to advise the public as to the rapid decline in COVID-19 cases in country which is due to direct Government action and the diligent and hard work of the nation’s healthcare sector and the adherence of protocols by the Bahamian people.

“We note that there has been a reduction in the average number of cases from approximately 90 cases per day down to 45 cases per day over the past week,” Minister Wells said in a press statement, Monday, November 2, 2020.  

“Over the past two days, we have recorded 21 and 24 cases per day respectively.  It is noted that this reduction is by no means a result of a decrease in the number of tests performed.”

He stated that the National Testing Protocol has not changed. “Our experience has been that predominantly those who are symptomatic present for testing.  Contacts of positive cases are tested only if they become symptomatic.”

Minister Wells explained that at the height second wave, due to the rise of the COVID-19 cases, the Government took direct and decisive action to institute weekend curfews starting the 9th October 2020, at 7:00p.m.

Additionally, he noted that the preventative measures were tightened so that the weekday curfews were reduced from 10:00p.m. to 7:00p.m.

He said the Ministry of Health demonstrated in its last press conference that the average weekly new cases are declining. “With this, based on the current National testing protocol, we expect that the demand for testing would also decrease.”

The Minister stated that in Epi week 40 - 928 COVID-19 tests were performed in-country.  In Epi week 41 - 2331 and in Epi week 42 – 1011 tests were performed.

He said the positivity rate over the past two weeks has declined from 32 per cent down to 12 per cent.   A higher percentage suggests a higher transmission of the virus. Hence, a lower percentage suggests that the rate of transmission has been reduced by one third.  The WHO recommends that the positivity rate remains below 5 per cent.  All indicators being monitored by the Ministry of Health point to success in mitigating the spread of COVID-19.

Minister Wells explained that the Ministry of Health reports that –

•    It has engaged more than 111 contract tracers - up from 31 at the start of October, 2020.  “We thank the private sector for purchasing computers and augmenting the numbers purchased by the Government to aid this effort.  This has had a positive effect to keep track of confirmed COVID-19 patients and their contacts.  They have been effective in tracing contacts and the results have been proving the same.”

•    Hospitalizations among persons testing positive for COVID-19 have reduced dramatically.   As of yesterday (November 1), 85 persons with COVID-19 were hospitalized across the archipelago - down from the high of 122 hospitalized persons on October 22nd.

•    The Ministry of Health is also in the process of securing therapeutics, and can announce that it has already procured 150 doses of Remdesivir.  As additional therapeutics are approved, it will aggressively seek to procure the same.