Minister of Health Renward Wells - House of Assembly, July 23, 2020
Minister of Health, Renward Wells. (File Photo)

(Source: Bahamas Information Services – August 15th, 2020) – Minister of Health the Hon. Renward Wells explained, just as a plan of action is established in the event of a natural disaster, every workplace and household should have a plan of action prepared in the event a member acquires COVID-19.  (See current Bahamas case numbers here)

“In households, it should be determined if it is feasible for a member of the family to quarantine or isolate in a room at home or if there is a need to relocate to an alternate facility,” Minister Wells stated at a COVID-19 Update press conference at the Ministry of Health on Friday, August 14, 2020.

He said if remaining at home, there should be:

•    one designated caregiver assigned to assist the quarantined individual;
•    supply of food and medication on hand;
•    a thermometer handy;
•    access to a telephone; and
•    a bag packed with clothes, medications and other personal effects in the event that one needs to be relocated to a facility.

Minister Wells said, “If you are uncertain of your risk of being a contact of a COVID-19 positive individual, be proactive:

•    inform your family that there was exposure or potential exposure at your work;
•    monitor yourself daily for symptoms;
•    continue adhering to the preventative measures; and
•    limit your movements inside and outside of your household.”

The Health Minister also noted that if individuals are certain that they were in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, and do not receive a call from Surveillance within 48 hours, please contact the unit themselves at:

•    502-7382 (9:00a.m. – 5:00p.m.);
•    376-9350 (8:00a.m. – 8:00p.m.) or;
•    376-9387 (8:00p.m. – 8:00a.m.).

These numbers replace the now defunct 511.

Minister Wells explained that the South Beach Health Centre delivers COVID-19 care to patients with mild symptoms.   He stated that currently, the Centre is receiving some 45 to 55 people daily who are referred from the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 hotline, community clinics, Princess Margaret Hospital or who are walk-in clients displaying mild symptoms.

The Health Minister said the National Reference Laboratory (NRL) is utilizing the newly donated GeneXpert machine from PAHO and its Panther system for RT PCR testing.

“With receiving upwards of 800 samples in one week, the National Reference Lab staff has been challenged. Volunteers have presented themselves to assist with data entry and we are most grateful for their assistance.”

He added that Medical technologists from the private sector such as Premier Clinical Laboratory and Oak Tree Medical have offered combined processing assistance to bolster capacity to address the backlog of samples.

The Minister said, “All personnel at the National Reference Lab are working steadfastly through an astounding situation while maintaining a premium standard of operation and analysis.

He added, “Such camaraderie has resulted in the cross-fertilization of knowledge in diagnostic strategies utilized by other institutions. This positivity generated at the laboratory is similar to the positivity generated by the Surveillance Contact Tracing Programme team at Melia Nassau Beach Hotel.”

Bahamas Information Services
Written By Llonella Gilbert