NASSAU, Bahamas – The Bahamas government says it will continue to implement protocols aimed at reducing the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) especially among the frontline health care workers.
“Protocols will continue to be implemented to minimize patient and staff exposure across institutions and agencies,” said Health Minister, Renward Wells , adding “this will, from time-to-time, result in service and organizational changes, but the expected outcome of these measures will be for the benefit of all”.
He said that the Ministry of Health officials have heard the concerns of the unions and associations with whom the Ministry has agreements.
“We will continue our meetings in the coming days to hear grievances; address the concerns of staff; and to find the best possible approach required for advancing the good of The Bahamian people and our teams across the healthcare sector.
“Employers and managers are encouraged to be careful how they treat their employees who may have tested positive for COVID-19. Keeping their confidentiality is a must. This would encourage an employee to open up regarding further challenges. This openness is needed to get our hands around this virus,” Wells said.
He said that COVID-19 preventative measures apply to everyone on every island and cay throughout the country, adding “everyone must do their part to mitigate the transmission of COVID-19.”
The Health Minister noted that one notable challenge in New Providence last week was the closure of government offices and quasi-government agencies due to COVID-19.
He explained that it is important to be aware that the Ministry of Health and the Department of Environmental Health Services must be informed immediately when a positive case is identified, if the person has developed COVID-19 symptoms on the job; and worked in a facility for within a seven day period.
“Currently, I am consulting with my colleague Minister of the Environment to determine whether modifications to the existing protocols for sanitisation of buildings/workplaces should be amended,” Wells said, noting that the Department of Environmental Health Services will provide guidance on the cleaning of the affected area.
“The Surveillance Unit of The Ministry of Health will conduct its contact tracing and risk assessment exercises. This process can be lengthy if it generates a widely cast net. The inevitability of COVID-19 being traced to a workplace as we have experienced this week and weeks prior is a reality,” he added.
The Bahamas now has 1,252 cases on COVID-19. On August 15, it reported its largest single-day increase of 133 new cases.