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Health Minister says “not out of the woods” though COVID cases drop

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By Deandrea Hamilton

Editor

 

#TurksandCaicos, February 9, 2022 – “Cases are receding but we are not out of the woods yet.”

This is according to Health Minister Jamell Robinson in response to the slowly declining covid19 numbers in the TCI, as reported by Magnetic Media on Thursday February 3. Case numbers, at the time, were receding with 60 new cases caught between January 27 and February 2 and 219 actives up to Saturday.

It got way too close to 1000 active cases early in January, residents were horrified by the figures and the omicron-driven surge did not escape Turks and Caicos; and 11 more lives were lost as omicron pushed the death toll as well.

As of now, 35 people in total have been lost to the virus in country, with 31 per cent of those deaths or 11 happening over December and January.

February is showing a significant downward trend with only four islands having active cases of the virus; North Caicos has seven cases, South Caicos has one active on the Ministry of Health dashboard. While Providenciales and Grand Turk are showing no new cases, not unusual as testing for Covid-19 slows on the weekends.

Magnetic Media reached out to Minister of Health Jamell Robinson, early last week and he agreed: “Cases are receding but we are not out of the woods yet. All measures are in place until February 28. Some of those measures include significant reductions in capacity and negative test mandates for the unvaccinated in order to attend church, funerals, weddings, or enter a bar, disco, lounge, or restaurant. Education authorized an expanded in-person learning phase, with more schools allowed to have children back in the classrooms… so far, so good.”

Minister Robinson informed that regulations to manage public health in this ongoing pandemic are always under review to determine effectiveness. Cabinet is where the situation is weighed and Cabinet reconvenes this Wednesday, he did not promise any changes to the current restrictions though.

Government

FDA decides to streamline COVID vaccines, what that means for Everyone

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

 

#USA, February 2, 2023 – In a nine-hour meeting on Thursday, an external advisory panel of experts brought in by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) voted to simplify and regularize vaccine composition so that all COVID shots are similar and focus on targeting the same variants.

Three years into the fight against COVID-19, this will very likely mean the permanent end of the original monovalent shots rolled out to fight the disease in late 2020; in the US at least.

With the advent of Omicron and all the vaccine elusive sub-variants it spawned, the efficacy of those original vaccines plummeted.  Bivalent vaccines were quickly developed and with them the FDA and US Centres for Disease Control (CDC) rescind the emergency use and authorization use of the original monovalent as booster shots; effectively barring them from being administered as anything but primary doses for the unvaccinated.

If the FDA accepts this vote it would mean unvaccinated US residents would now be given bivalent primary doses from the get-go.  For the North American country which still has a vaccine mandate in place for visitors, it could also prompt tweaking of the definition of fully vaccinated which currently means having a primary series of the monovalent shot.

The decision to simplify the vaccines would pare down the number of vials and measuring healthcare workers have to contend with; a move the FDA is hoping will lead to fewer vaccine administering mistakes as well.

The FDA has not yet made a decision on the once-yearly COVID shot proposal which was also on the table.  The attendees cited new concerns brought up in the meeting including the variation of protection needed between healthy people and those with comorbidities and more.

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Bahamas News

Minister of Health & Wellness thanks Cuban nurses for their service during the COVID-19 Pandemic

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#TheBahamas, January 31, 2023 – An appreciation ceremony was held at SuperClubs Breezes resort, January 30, 2023, to thank the remaining cohort of nurses from the Republic of Cuba who joined the cadre of healthcare workers at the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) to assist in the delivery of hospital services and patient care in face of the impact of COVID-19.
The cohort originally comprised 42 nurses who started their duties on Monday, January 24, 2022. The ceremony was attended by some 25 remaining nurses.
 
Minister of Health and Wellness the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville thanked the Cuban Ambassador, His Excellency Julio Cesar Gonzalez Marchante, on behalf of the Prime Minister and his Cabinet colleagues, for Cuba’s response to the call for help from the Bahamas Government.
 
“You came to us in one of our most dangerous moments. You came to us in the heat of the Delta Variant when many of our brothers and sisters lost their lives as a result of COVID,” Minister Darville said.
“At the time that I went to Cuba, we had about 100 nurses in our healthcare system who were out as a result of COVID, while the developed world was recruiting our nurses left, right and centre.”
 
He also noted that at that time The Bahamas could not even get vaccines.
 
“We are a Small Island Developing State. The world was hoarding the vaccines to developed countries and our population was very vulnerable because we did not have access to what the developed world had.”
 
Minister Darville said, “But we had a friend 100 miles to the south of us who came to our rescue. You came to us at our most vulnerable moment. For that as a country, Your Excellency, we will forever be grateful to the Republic of Cuba.”
 
The Minister noted that the nurses’ services were so exemplary and needed, the contract, which was originally for three months, was extended to one-year. Despite this, he said it was time for the nurses to return home to their loved ones.
However, he explained that the relationship between the two countries has not ended as he is in negotiations with the Republic of Cuba for bringing in some additional biomedical engineers, physicians, respiratory therapists and HVAC specialists.
 
 
PHOTO CAPTION – Minister of Health and Wellness the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville thanked the nurses from the Republic of Cuba for bolstering the country’s healthcare system during the COVID-19 Pandemic, during an appreciation ceremony at SuperClubs Breezes, Monday, January 30, 2023.
 
(BIS Photos/Patrick Hanna)

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Health

Women 30x more likely for UTIs; Learn More

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By Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer 

 

 

January 25, 2023 – Itchy, uncomfortable and often painful Urinary Tract Infections affects millions of people yearly, the vast majority of them women. In fact ‘UTIs will likely affect almost half the female population at least once in their lives and women get UTIs up to 30 times more often than men do. Also, as many as 4 in 10 women who get a UTI will get at least one more within six months’ the US Office on Women’s Health explains.

Caused by germs that get into the bladder, UTIs can happen in any part of the large urinary system including the kidneys; ureters; bladder; and urethra, but are most common in the bladder. They are easy to cure with proper antibiotics but can be serious if left untreated. Knowing how to identify a UTI and getting quick and effective treatment can save women and girls a lot of pain. The UK National Health Agency lists the symptoms as

  • pain or a burning sensation when peeing (dysuria)
  • needing to pee more often than usual during the night (nocturia)
  • pee that looks cloudy, dark or has a strong smell
  • needing to pee suddenly or more urgently than usual
  • needing to pee more often than usual
  • blood in your pee
  • lower tummy pain or pain in your back, just under the ribs
  • a high temperature, or feeling hot and shivery
  • a very low temperature below 36C

What many people may not know is that these painful symptoms can affect young children as well, if your baby is generally unwell, has a high temperature, wets the bed or themselves and refuses to eat you may want to ask your doctor to take a look as these are symptoms of UTIs in children.

A quick visit to your doctor and a round of antibiotics will usually clear up the infection and any recurring ones but avoiding UTIs completely may be the best bet for all. UTIs are caused when bacteria often from the skin or rectum, enter the urethra, and infect the urinary tract the CDC says. The agency also lists a myriad risk factors that can cause this including poor hygiene in older adults with catheters or young children who are potty training causing bacteria to spread. Other risk factors include: Sexual activity; Changes in the bacteria that live inside the vagina, or vaginal flora. (For example, menopause or the use of spermicides can cause these bacterial changes.); Pregnancy; and Structural problems in the urinary tract, such as an enlarged prostate.

There’s nothing to be embarrassed about in having the common medical condition a UTI, while painful, is easy to treat, make use of the treatment options available to you and don’t ignore the symptoms in the hope that they will disappear as this could make the problem worse.

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