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Bahamas has 60 ventilators, Sands says

The Nassau Guardian March 26, 2020

Rachel Knowles

Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands said 68 ventilators are expected to be available for COVID-19 patients requiring hospitalization.

Sands said 60 ventilators are already in the country, and the other eight are on the way.

COVID-19, which is caused by the novel coronavirus, can cause respiratory failure in some cases.

In countries with widespread outbreaks, public health systems have been overwhelmed by the virus due to shortages of hospital beds and ventilators.

Attorney General Carl Bethel told The Nassau Guardian that The Bahamas’ “fragile” health care system has been a factor in the decision of the government to implement stringent prevention measures, including a 24-hour curfew that came into effect earlier this week.

Sands, however, has assured that he does not foresee a ventilator shortage becoming an issue.

“We believe that there is an excellent match between the anticipated clinical challenges and the available medical staff, even if we were considering augmenting that medical staff,” he told reporters at a press conference on Sunday.

Sands also noted yesterday that a large shipment of personal protective equipment is en route to The Bahamas for medical staff.

He said the government has already spent a large sum on the equipment.

“We have spent more than $300,000, and considerably more is anticipated,” he said.

“We will ensure the safety of our frontline personnel.”

There are five confirmed cases of COVID-19 in The Bahamas. Four of those cases are on New Providence.

The fifth case is a patient on Grand Bahama who health officials say had no recent travel history.

Officials have warned that they expect and are trying to prepare for a surge in cases in the country.

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