Grand Bahama Extends 2-Week Lockdown Amid COVID-19 Climb

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Grand Bahama’s lockdown was extended to 5am Wednesday, August 19th, announced Minister of State for Grand Bahama Kwasi Thompson.

Thompson said during a press conference on Thursday, “An extension of the lockdown is not something that would have been preferred, but it is absolutely necessary. We must work together to stop the spread of the virus on Grand Bahama.”

The island’s current two-week lockdown, July 23 to August 7, ends tomorrow morning at 5am.

But Thompson said the extension is an effort to slow and control community spread of the COVID-19 pandemic on Grand Bahama, as 336 confirmed cases were recorded for the island as of Wednesday.

This means that Grand Bahama now falls under the same lockdown order as the rest of the country, which went into effect on Tuesday evening.

 Coordinator of Grand Bahama Health Services COVID-19 Task Force Dr. Frank Bartlett said five positive Covid-19 cases are hospitalized, approximately 900 people in quarantine and 310 people in isolation. To date, 1,038 swabs have been done.

Bartlett said public health measures and social distancing measures along with lockdowns have proven effective

Outlining the current assessment, he noted that a downward trend has not yet been established.

He said, “There is still no strict compliance with the public health and social distancing measures in place; daily, patients are accessing the healthcare system complaining of symptoms compatible with Covid; challenges with response to increased hospitalizations impacted by hospitalizations for Covid suspects are surpassing non-Covid patients; ICU bed capacity has been at 100% for the past month with non-Covid patients, and if we were to see an increase in sicker or critical patients the healthcare system will be overwhelmed,” Dr. Bartlett said.

Dr. Bartlett added that challenges are also present with the manning of multiple sites, and patients in the second wave are being hospitalized for longer periods when compared to the first wave.

It is because of these factors, he said, it has been recommended that the lockdown period be extended.

 People should not be leaving their homes unless they must, and even with the lockdown there are still too many cars on the streets.

An evaluation of the impact of the restrictions is made after the completion of one incubation period of 14 days. Based on the changes in clinical indicators (hospitalization rate, ICU admissions, numbers of positive cases), a determination is made as to whether other measures are required to curtail the increase in positive COVID-19 cases.

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