Minister of State for Grand Bahama Kwasi Thompson announced yesterday the lockdown implemented in Grand Bahama will be extended to August 19.
According to official data released yesterday, there are some 336 confirmed COVID-19 cases in GB. Additionally, there are approximately 900 people in quarantine and 310 in isolation to date on the island.
Minister Thompson, during a press conference at the Office of the Prime Minister in Freeport, stated that after consultation with health and other officials, it was decided the lockdown implemented from July 23 to August 7, would be extended.
“This decision was taken in order to continue the slow and controlled community spread of COVID-19 on GB,” he said. “The extension of the lockdown is necessary in order to save and protect the lives of the residents of GB.”
Dr Frank Bartlett, coordinator of the GB Health Services COVID-19 Task Force, reported that a total of 1,038 swabs have been completed to date on GB. Of the 336 cases, five deaths have occurred, he said.
In evaluating the impact of restrictions after completion of one incubation period or 14 days quarantine, he indicated that GB’s cases have not shown a decline.
“The current assessment revealed that a downward trend in the number of cases we have seen in GB has not been established. There is still not strict compliance to public health and social distancing measures that are in place,” he said.
Dr Bartlett noted the public health measures and social distancing measures, along with lockdowns, have proven to be effective.
He explained that based on changes in clinical indicators, such as hospitalization, ICU admissions, number of positive cases, a determination is made as to whether the restrictions and other measures are required to curtail the increase in positive cases.
“Daily patients are assessing our healthcare system with symptoms that are compatible with COVID-19.
“Challenges with the response to increasing hospitalizations are impacted by the hospitalization of COVID suspects, which are surpassing the number of patients we have that are non-COVID,” he said.
He indicated ICU bed-capacity for the past two months has been at 100 percent, or near 100 percent.
“This becomes important because if we do have a COVID-19 person that needs critical intervention we would not have the capacity to deal with that person,” Dr Bartlett said.
Minister Thompson is urging residents of GB to stay home and follow the health guidelines protocols.
He stressed that residents should not leave their homes unless absolutely necessary.
“We are again pleading with residents to stay at home. That is the only way we will be able to curb this pandemic and ensure that we have a successful destination after we’ve completed this.
“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 GB I think residents in advance for their cooperation,” he said.
In terms of food assistance, Senator Thompson stated that some 5,366 vouchers were distributed by the GB Food Task Force, which will continue to provide vouchers to residents in need during the lockdown
He reported that 1,202 vouchers were distributed yesterday on Grand Bahama.