200 healthcare workers tested for virus on Saturday
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Minister of Health Dr Duane Sands said as testing expands on Bimini more people are expected to test positive for the coronavirus, including asymptomatic carriers who could be responsible for clusters of community spread on the island.
Nearly 400 people have been tested in Bimini and Cat Cay.
“Some of these people are asymptomatic, so yes, as you test more, you find more,” Sands told Eyewitness News.
“And that is an important part of our strategy moving forward. Within the limits of our capacity, we intend to expand our testing. We were up to 2,500, 2,600 tests per million, which is not too shoddy, relative to the rest of the world.”
He continued: “We intend to get even further along in terms of level of testing in the community, as well as cohorts of persons, inclusive of healthcare workers, people in extending care facilities; persons working in penitentiary, prison, and then the general public ultimately being able to be tested on demand.
“That is the plan, but that is aspirational and we are putting in place the ability for that. So far, we are pretty pleased with where we are.”
Two-hundred healthcare workers were tested on Saturday — both PCR and rapid testing — at a temporary testing facility set up in the parking lot of the Public Treasury Department.
The results from those tests could come in today and tomorrow.
Five females in Bimini, including two young girls, ages 11 and 15, tested positive for the virus on Saturday.
None of the new patients had a recent travel history.
Each of them have been isolated at home.
Last Thursday, Sands said between 40 and 50 residents in Bimini would be tested for the virus before the end of the day.
The minister said health official recognize the importance of testing and will continue to capture more people.
He said the ministry has taken into consideration the dynamic of various communities and their household makeups, as part of its analysis and modeling for the spread of the virus.
Asked about the validation process for the more than 15,000 rapid test kits in-country, Sands said the process is ongoing.
“This is a very serious issue where you have to oftentimes go at it multiple times; adjust; make alterations to your plan; have to deal with things that you didn’t think about previously; and correct them,” the minister said.
“Every day, seven days a week, we assess the data, make a decision, make an intervention, change the approach and we listen to the recommendations of the public.”
There have been 80 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in The Bahamas.
To date, 22 people have recovered, 11 have died, and 792 people remain in quarantine or isolation at home, or in a government facility.