#Nassau, The Bahamas — March 15, 2020 — The Bahamas Government on Sunday at 1 p.m. announced its first case of COVID-19, but more concerning than the announcement was the fact that no one knows, at this stage, where the woman picked-up the dreaded contagion.
“She presented with symptoms of fever and cough, she is not known to have travelled outside of the country in the past 20 days and at this time the patient’s exposure is unknown. The patients and family members have been informed of this diagnosis. She is receiving care, in the designated isolation area of the Princess Margaret Hospital,” said Jeffrey Lloyd, Acting Minister of Health, The Bahamas.
Acting Minister of Health, Jeffrey Lloyd led the Task Force in the debriefing which was held precisely seven hours after the team was informed of the positive test results on a 61-year old woman, resident in Nassau, New Providence and who has not been outside of the country for the past 20-days.
“We are currently investigating her family and social contacts to determine whether they could have been the source of her infection,” said Minister Lloyd.
It was said there were two tests, to be doubly sure of the result as the woman fell below the qualifying standards to be tested for COVID-19. An enhanced approach led to the testing of the Bahamian woman, who exhibited only influenza symptoms when she turned up late on Friday at the Princess Margaret Hospital; she did not have the relevant travel history usually required for coronavirus testing.
The Minister added, “Steps are now being taken to respond to this public health threat and these measures include: Aggressive and extensive contact tracing, recommendations to the community efforts to mitigate transmission and it is crucial that we understand now, that to prevent further transmission depends on what we all must do individually and collectively.”
Nothing further about this first case patient was shared with media which was summoned to the Ministry’s headquarters on Meeting Street in Nassau, except that the woman is now in isolation at the Princess Margaret Hospital.
There was no announcement related to actions toward containing or curtailing community spread, but the tried and true message of prevention was touted by Minister Lloyd: “To prevent becoming infected with COVID19, you must: One, wash hands thoroughly with 60 percent hand sanitizer or soap and water for 20-seconds; Two, do not touch your face with your hands; Three, keep social distancing of three to six feet from persons; Four, do not shake hands, hug or greet by kissing; Five, if you are sick use respiratory hygiene which includes cough into your sleeve, not your hands and cough into a tissue and dispose into a trash can immediately; six, stay home if you are with flu-like symptoms; seven, if you feel your symptoms require medical care, call your doctor’s office or the COVID19 hotline before you go to that hospital or clinic.”
An update on the progress of this first COVID-19 investigation is expected on Monday.
The Bahamas Prime Minister, Dr. Hubert Minnis is due to give a national address on Sunday night related to COVID-19.