Special Advisor to the P.M, Dr. Merceline Dahl-Regis announced that The Bahamas recorded 14 new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours. “Regrettably, two additional deaths have been confirmed. This brings the total number of COVID-19-related deaths to 46. This increase in the number of deaths includes deaths currently under investigation,” Dr. Dahl-Regis said during a COVID-Update Press Conference at the Office of the Prime Minister, Monday, August 24, 2020.
She said, “The country now has a total of 1798 confirmed cases of COVID-19. This includes 69 confirmed cases reported on Sunday the 23 rd of August.” Of the total number:
1029 have been confirmed on New Providence;
523 on Grand Bahama;
66 on Abaco;
50 on Bimini;
15 on the Berry Islands;
8 on Cat Island;
19 on Exuma;
Eight on Inagua;
Five on Eleuthera;
Four on Acklins;
One on Andros;
Two on Crooked Island; and
For 68 cases, the specific locations are still pending. Health Officials are awaiting island designation for these lab results.
Long Island, San Salvador, and Rum Cay have not reported cases of COVID19. Dr. Dahl-Regis pointed out that there is a decrease in the number of confirmed cases reflected in today’s dashboard. This is due to the removal of duplicate cases and improved data management.
She said, “To date there are 634 recovered cases and 1115 active cases; 87 cases are currently in hospital. A total of 56 individuals have tested positive for COVID-19 at the Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre in New Providence. Of that number, 23 are receiving hospital level care.”
The Special advisor added that Health officials are implementing a strategy to increase hospital bed capacity. She explained that to date, a total of 9821 tests have been completed; 1089 contacts are in quarantine and 937 have been discharged; 939 are in home
isolation. Dr. Dahl-Regis stated that as the Ministry of Health reported previously, during the second wave of COVID-19, the National Reference Laboratory has experienced a significant backlog of cases.
“The sharp increase in the number of samples to be tested strained the human resources and testing capacity at the lab. “In this second wave the number of tests has increased significantly to more than 300 samples daily.” She explained that specimens from swabs are processed by manual extraction of the genetic material for each sample.
“Correspondent data on surveillance and lab results must undergo quality checks before those results are released to the Surveillance Unit for further notification. “An early task was to address the backlog. Many qualified volunteers were recruited to assist with sample processing and data entry.
“Additional equipment was secured, and a total of 220 backlogged samples were outsourced to the Doctor’s Hospital Lab for testing.” Dr. Dahl-Regis stated that additionally, testing priority protocols were used to redirect testing from acute care facilities to the newly installed equipment at the PMH Microbiology laboratory for COVID-19 RT PCR testing.
She said the remaining backlogged samples were processed at the National Reference Lab. Dr. Dahl-Regis said, “Today I am very pleased to report that the backlog at the National Reference Lab has been eliminated. Measures have also been put in place to prevent a backlog from reoccurring.” She said, “COVID-19 testing is now being carried out at the Princess Margaret Hospital’s microbiology lab. COVID-19 testing will also soon be possible at the South Beach Health Centre on New Providence and at the lab on Grand Bahama. Turnaround time for results will be monitored. It is anticipated that the turnaround time will not exceed 36 hours.”