The Bahamas confirms first COVID-19 case

Patient has no relevant travel history

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Press conference photo shows Minister Jeffrey Lloyd, third left; Permanent Secretary Marco Rolle, second left; Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Pearl McMillan, second right, and Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Delon Brennen, right.  (BIS Photo/Kemuel Stubbs)

The Bahamas confirmed its first case of COVID-19 in the capital today.

The patient, a 61-year-old New Providence woman who does not have a relevant travel history, Acting Minister of Health Jeffrey Lloyd announced at a press conference in the capital at the Ministry of Health.

The woman is receiving care in the designated isolation area of the Princess Margaret Hospital, Lloyd said.

She presented with symptoms of fever and cough Friday evening and tested positive for COVID-19 midnight Sunday. However, she is not known to have traveled outside of the country in the past 20 days.

“At this time, the patients’ exposure is unknown. The patient and family members have been informed of the diagnosis,” Lloyd said, while revealing that the Ministry of Health is investigating the patient’s family and social contacts to determine whether they could have been the source of her infection.

The case comes days after the World Health Organization(WHO) declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic and expressed its it is deep concerned by the alarming levels of spread and severity and the alarming levels of inaction.

Prime Minister Hubert Minnis has maintained that the government is taking extra precautions to protect the safety and health of residents and visitors.

Minister Lloyd said this case was detected in the health system because of Ministry of Health enhanced surveillance methods for COVID-19.

“These measures include physicians reporting patients who present with respiratory infections and testing where indicated,” he said.

“We made the decision to expand our testing and have a heightened sensitivity for persons presenting with influenza-like symptoms due to lessons learnt from countries that have diagnosed cases in keeping with this enhanced surveillance approach.”

Minister Lloyd further revealed that the investigation is ongoing and the public will be updated within the next 24 hours.

Meanwhile, he said, steps are being taken to respond to this public health threat. Those measures include aggressive and extensive contact tracing and recommendations to the community efforts to mitigate transmission.

“It is crucial that we understand now that to prevent further transmission depends on what we all must do individually and collectively,” he said.

To prevent becoming infected with COVID-19, Lloyd stressed washing your hands thoroughly with 60 percent hand sanitizer or soap and water for 20 seconds.

  • Do not touch your face with your hands
  • Keep social distancing of 3 to 6 feet from persons
  • Do not shake hands, hug or greet by kissing
  • If you are sick, use respiratory hygiene and cough into your sleeve, not your hands or cough into a tissue and dispose in a trash can immediately

Anyone sick with flu-like symptoms is strongly being advised to stay home and if the

symptoms require medical care, call your doctor’s office or the COVID-19 Hotline at 376-9350, 376-9387 or 376-9357 before going to the clinic or hospital.

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