Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Health Resources Stretched Thin, Forced 2-Week Lockdown

As pandemic-fatigue sets in, Prime Minister Hubert Minnis announced a two-week lockdown for the country, following like measures taken in Grand Bahama and Bimini.

Speaking at a national address on Monday evening, Dr. Minnis declared a national lockdown, beginning tomorrow, Tuesday 4th at 10 pm, citing an increase in COVID-19 cases.

“Many are tired of restrictions; tired of separation. I understand your frustrations. I too would like to be back to better times. However, we must not let that frustration lead us to slacken our behavior or resolve.

“Over the past two weeks, health officials have seen an increase in a number of indicators that point to the need for a national lockdown,” Dr. Minnis said.

On Monday, health officials confirmed 31 additional cases of the virus, bringing the total to 679 COVID-19 cases–572 active cases with 22 people in hospitals.

Dr. Minnis said these increasing figures have placed demands on bed capacity at health facilities.

“There has been an exponential increase in the number of cases, an increase in hospitalizations, an increase in the demand for ICU beds, and sadly, an increase in the number of deaths.

“The more cases that present to health institutions, the more services will be needed. Right now, our bed capacity and human resources are being increasingly stretched,” he said.

He stressed that ICU beds are at capacity and that non-critical care beds are approaching capacity.

“Health officials advise that a lockdown will allow for the repurposing of health facilities and addition of health resources to accommodate the increased need for hospitalizations and healthcare support. They also advise that a lockdown will provide the opportunity for enhanced contact tracing, which will identify cases before they become very ill and prevent the spread of infection by the contacts.”

Dr. Minnis said the national lockdown will be for a minimum of two weeks, and nearing the end of the period, health officials will assess the health data, and advise whether a further lockdown period is necessary.

He said the extension, relaxation or cessation of the national lockdown will in part be determined by the cooperation of Bahamians and residents.

“COVID-19 kills. COVID-19 leaves some survivors so damaged that their lifespans may be shortened. Let us remain disciplined, keeping to the public health advice. Sacrifice now to stay healthy so that when this is all over you can once again go back to those times spending time with those you love,” he advised.

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