The Government will spend $7.2 million to engage medical staff, and 18 hospital beds will be added to the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) inventory as part of the continued approach to combat the surge in COVID-19 cases, Prime Minister the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis announced on Wednesday.
The Prime Minister was speaking in a live National Address to update the public on a series of public health measures being taken to assist with the care of COVID-19 patients, limit the spread of the virus and secure more vaccines.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has been one of the most difficult periods in our nation’s history. Even though we are all tired of the pandemic, it is not over,” said Prime Minister Minnis. “We are in fact in the middle of a surge.”
As part of a plan to engage as many trained medical professions as possible to provide healthcare to Bahamians and residents and to get shots in arms as quickly as possible, an additional 49 medical staff along with 111 nurses and nursing support staff will be hired shortly, said the Prime Minister.
Prime Minister Minnis called on all retired nurses, doctors and pharmacists to come forward to assist in the country’s time of need.
The Prime Minister also announced that Samaritan’s Purse, an international aid organization that assisted The Bahamas in the second wave of the pandemic, will begin installation of two negative air pressure medical tents on the grounds of the Princess Margaret Hospital on Friday, July 30th.
The tents are intended to provide an additional 18 hospital beds and treatment facilities for COVID-19 patients.
The Public Health Authority (PHA) is also working with a donor who has offered to provide an additional medical tent. Medical tents previously donated by the US Government for other purposes are also being assessed to determine if they can serve as negative air pressure tents and used in the treatment of COVID-19 patients, said the Prime Minister.
As it relates to the contact tracing program, the Ministry of Health has added an experienced epidemiologist to its team to provide support and clinical direction of the surveillance of identified cases as well as their identified contacts, said Prime Minister Minnis.
Efforts are also being made to supplement the team with an additional 40 contact tracers.
A new app is being rolled out to replace the Hubbcat system to provide a technological solution to monitoring those who remain non-compliant with quarantine and isolation requirements.
The Prime Minister reported that The Bahamas has been notified by the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) that the third tranche of pre-paid vaccines, made up of 33,600 doses of AstraZeneca through the COVAX Facility, is expected to arrive in-country some time next week.
“We are also working very closely with CARICOM and the United States Government regarding a donation of vaccines from the US Government,” said Prime Minister Minnis.
“I have been in direct communication with the Secretary General of CARICOM to ensure that there is no delay in The Bahamas receiving these vaccines.”
The Prime Minister said that as soon as supplies are available, the Pfizer vaccine will be offered to 12- to 17-year-olds, only with the consent of their parents or guardians.
Since the national vaccine roll out began in mid-March of 2021, more than 100,000 Bahamians and residents throughout The Bahamas have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Office of the Prime Minister
Commonwealth of The Bahamas
July 28th, 2021