Government ready for more health protocols despite dwindling cases, says Darville – Eye Witness News
Darville: Omicron has become the predominant strain in the Bahamas
NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Despite the continued downward trend in coronavirus cases in the Bahamas, Minister of Health and Wellness Dr. Michael Darville said the government remains in a position to “execute additional protocols” to limit the spread in the community.
He noted the trend is a positive sign, but said COVID continues to remain a “very evasive pandemic.”
Over the weekend, more than 90 new infections and seven COVID-related deaths were recorded.
Four more COVID-related deaths were reported last week on Thursday.
“So we are aware that even if we see positive signs, we are positioned to execute additional protocols to push back this fourth wave,” Darville said.
“But I am happy today that we are seeing the signs that we have been working for over the past few months.”
The explosion of cases and hospitalizations in recent months has led authorities to believe that the omicron variant, a more contagious strain of COVID-19 than the delta strain, was spreading among communities in the Bahamas.
However, several hundred samples sent to Panama to confirm the presence of the variant have yet to be returned.
To that, Darville said he continued to ask the company performing the genome sequencing on the samples for the results and planned to speak to the National Reference Laboratory yesterday about it.
Although he could not provide a timeline, the minister said he expected those results soon.
Notwithstanding the data, Darville said there is no doubt that omicron has become the predominant strain in the Bahamas.
“Based on preliminary reports from our national reference laboratory, this is so,” Darville said.
I am happy today that we are seeing the signs for which we have been working for the past few months.
– Minister of Health and Welfare Dr Michael Darville
The government and its National Advisory Committee on COVID-19 Vaccines continue to encourage and educate on vaccination against the virus as a good defense in addition to health protocols.
To date, more than 159,000 people have been fully vaccinated in the country.
This figure includes Bahamians and residents vaccinated abroad who have registered their vaccination status in the country.
The government continues to offer boosters, although it remains unclear how many people have received the additional vaccine, as these figures do not contribute to the number of people fully vaccinated or those who have received at least one dose.
According to officials, the Bahamas has seriously sought to acquire pediatric vaccines that would be used on children under 12 years old.
Thousands of students returned to schools for in-person learning last week on Monday.
When asked if students who still don’t have access to vaccinations remain at risk, Darville said there was “always a risk” in not being vaccinated, but the government continued to put in put in place measures to mitigate these risks.
He was unable to say when the Bahamas might expect pediatric vaccines.
He said the health and foreign ministries have asked many countries for these doses.