Contact Tracing is a Critical Element to Reducing the Spread of COVID-19

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Special Advisor to the Prime Minister, Dr. Merceline Dahl-Regis explained that testing is only one part of the strategy to help slow and control the spread of COVID-19 during a COVID-19 Update Press Conference at the Office of the Prime Minister, Monday, August 24, 2020. (BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna)

Special Advisor to the Prime Minister, Dr. Merceline Dahl-Regis explained that testing is only one part of the strategy to help slow and control the spread of COVID-19. “Contact tracing is a critical element when it comes to reducing the spread of COVID-19 in our communities,” Dr. Dahl-Regis stated during a COVID-19 Update Press Conference at the Office of the Prime Minister,Monday, August 24, 2020. She said during the first wave, a small health team of less than 10 individuals carried out this responsibility. “In response to the second wave, 62 volunteers were recruited and 76 health staff re-assigned to carry out contact tracing on New Providence, Grand Bahama and the Family Islands.”

Dr. Dahl-Regis said to date, public health experts working out of the contact tracing command centre at the Melia hotel have engaged and followed up with close to 4,000 contacts of confirmed cases. “We will not be able to bring this second wave under control until we identify all cases and contacts of cases.” She noted that based on the data presented, the majority of exposure to COVID- 19 is occurring between family members and in the workplace.

“It is noteworthy that once again we have clusters of transmission, not community spread. Today we illustrate the spread of COVID-19 in some specific settings.” Dr. Dahl-Regis stressed that the spread of COVID-19 in The Bahamas will continue to be dependent on behaviour patterns of its residents and adherence to the public health measures.

“I cannot stress enough how important it is to continue to practice the COVID-19 preventative measures in order to protect yourself and your loved ones. “We cannot say it enough, when you go out, wear your mask, wash your hands thoroughly and often, keep a distance of at least six feet from others and stay at home if you are feeling ill.”

She stated that the Ministry of Health has established workplace protocol guidelines which the public may access on bahamas.gov.bs. Dr. Dahl-Regis also noted that on Monday the 17th of August, the Ministry hosted a workplace readiness meeting for stakeholders.

Workplaces are encouraged to complete the assessment and receive a score on the readiness of their workplaces. “More than 800,000 people have died from this virus worldwide. We must stay disciplined. We must keep following the public health guidelines.” She said, “If we do, we will be able to slow and control the spread of COVID-19 and be able to open up our economy.”

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