Government Expands COVID-19 Response & Public Education Efforts

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An Overview of Current Initiatives 

11th January 2022

Following the successful implementation of the government’s free COVID-19 testing pilot programme on New Providence this past Saturday, the Prime Minister has expanded the number of daily allotted tests from 400 to 1000, effective today, Tuesday, January 11th. Antigen tests continue to be provided at no cost to members of the public at the Kendal GL Isaacs Gym, and at the Melia Hotel; the latter location features drive-thru testing. RT-PCR Tests are also available free of charge to symptomatic individuals at the South Beach Clinic. Bahamians may schedule an appointment for their COVID-19 test at https://covidtest.gov.bs/. Free testing was a key element of the Progressive Liberal Party’s COVID-19 Action Plan; widespread testing can reduce community transmission of the virus and empower Bahamians to keep their families safe. The Davis administration is currently working to expand the initiative, which promotes greater equity in health, to Grand Bahama and the Family Islands in the coming days.

The government is also intensifying public education efforts – another key component of the COVID-19 Action Plan. On Tuesday, January 11th at 8 pm, an educational Town Hall meeting entitled “Ask the Doctors” will be held by the Ministry of Health and Wellness in collaboration with the Office of the Prime Minister. The virtual meeting features a panel of medical experts and public health practitioners including Dr. Nikkiah Forbes, Director of the National HIV/AIDS & Infectious Diseases Programme at the MOHW; Dr. Philip Swann, Acting Chief Medical Officer at the MOHW; Dr. Cherita Moxey, Senior House Officer at the MOHW; Dr. Delon Brennen, Deputy Chief Medical Officer at the MOHW; Dr. Frank Bartlett, Consultant & Paediatrician, GBHS; Dr. Jillian Bartlett, Senior Medical Officer, MOHW; and Dr. Wendy Fernander, Psychiatrist. The Town Hall, part of a wider educational campaign the Davis administration is carrying out called “Together Against COVID-19”, seeks to address questions regarding the virus, vaccines, boosters, and personal responsibility during the pandemic. The questions featured will be drawn from a pool of questions e-mailed by Bahamians to the Office of the Prime Minister. The goal of the public education campaign is to empower Bahamians to adopt safe and informed strategies in the face of the Omicron and Delta variants, and to have experts replace bad information that is circulating with information that can be trusted. The panel will be streamed live on the Office of the Prime Minister’s Facebook page. 

Because COVID-19 virus particles can linger while suspended in the air, the proper mask (worn properly) reduces the risk of contracting the virus substantially. The Davis administration will be distributing hundreds of thousands of medical-grade masks throughout the country. Masks are currently being distributed at clinics and vaccinations sites in New Providence, and in the coming week, masks will also be distributed at schools and churches.

Quote from PM Davis’s National COVID-19 Update on 9th January 2022

“Your ability to know whether or not you have COVID should not depend on your income or wealth. And once people learn they are positive, which only testing can confirm, especially with a virus that produces so many asymptomatic cases, people can take steps to protect others around them.” 

Source: Office of the Prime Minister of The Bahamas