Friday, April 10, 2020

#242NewsBahamas Newsletter Edition: April 9th 2020

Quarantining While Barefoot:

Hello from quarantine land!

We hope that everyone is safe at home and doing their part to flatten the curve! Quarantining over the past few weeks has been rough. Here in The Bahamas, we are an archipelago made up of small tight-knit communities, which has made this process even more difficult for some. Generally speaking, we are huggers, backyard party throwers, churchgoers, and brunchers...all of which have been canceled (at least temporarily). We understand all too well how difficult this new way of life has been, so for this week’s editorial, we wanted to do a quick check-in with our team to find out the different ways we’re all reacting and coping with the fallout from COVID 19. This is a chance for you to meet the Girl Squad behind the weekly 242 newsletter! Enjoy and Stay Safe!
Prime Minister on new COVID-19 Orders
House of Assembly Communication

Monday, 6 April 2020, Nassau, Bahamas
Mr. Speaker:
Yesterday on Palm Sunday, Christians around the world and here at home began the observance of Holy Week, commemorating the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This Lent and Easter, individuals, families, communities and societies are experiencing ‘the way of the cross’ in ways we have not experienced in most of our lifetimes.

We are losing loved ones. Some are experiencing ill health, some are critically ill.
Families and friends are confronting the death of loved ones. We are feeling the loss of those who have contributed so much to our country over so many years. Mr. Speaker, One of the most unfortunate consequences of the emergency orders, was the postponement of several funerals planned for this past weekend. I know that this added to the grief of those who were unable to bury or to say a final earthly farewell to their loved ones.
Completion of PMH’s Modular Unit Represents Tangible Augmentation of the Country’s Capacity to Care for COVID-19 Patients

By Llonella Gilbert
NASSAU, The Bahamas -- Minister of Health Dr. the Hon. Duane Sands said the modular unit at the Princess Margaret Hospital is now completed and it represents tangible augmentation of the country’s capacity to care for COVID-19 patients, including the capacity for ventilator support, if required.

Additionally, it will aid in decompressing the current isolation unit in the Old GPC area, which was repurposed for use for assessment and management of suspected COVID-19 cases Dr. Sands stated as he presented an update on the COVID-19 response in the House of Assembly, Monday, April 6, 2020.

“Our partnership with Doctors Hospital West has proven invaluable since the introduction of COVID-19 cases to our shores. Currently there are eight patients being managed at the Doctors Hospital West facility, which has a total ICU-like bed capacity of 18 beds.”
Ministry of Health
Definition of “Recovered Cases” for the Ministry of Health Dashboard Update #26

The Ministry of Health wishes to advise that the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US-CDC) guidelines recommend two (2) alternatives to define if a patient is “recovered” from COVID-19. Recovery may be determined by utilizing the following strategies:
1. Test-based strategy; and 2. Non test-based strategy.
The Test-based strategy requires that the patient –
• is asymptomatic (no longer experiencing symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of
breath); and
• produce negative results.
Patients who undergo the Test-based strategy may include hospitalized patients with moderate or severe disease and those with immunocompromising conditions.
The Non test-based strategy requires that the patient -
• no longer has a fever and has not used fever-reducing medications within three (3) days;
• shows an improvement in respiratory symptoms such as cough and shortness of breath; and
• has no symptoms for at least seven (7) days since symptoms first appeared.
Campbell Outlines Measures Undertaken by Social Services in Light of COVID-19

By Matt Maura
NASSAU, The Bahamas – Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Frankie A. Campbell, told Parliamentarians Monday that his Ministry and its Departments and Divisions have undertaken a myriad of measures to provide assistance to those Bahamians as the country continues its fight against the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Minister Campbell said officials have endeavored to use every avenue to remain accessible not only to their regular clients, but also to persons within the community of persons with disabilities, the elderly, those in the tourism sector who find themselves on reduced workweeks as a result of the closure of the tourism sector, and, “those who are generally in need.”
16-year RBPF veteran, now head of Tactical Investigators Elston Bain:

‘Extra vigilance needed now more than ever, even when at home’, Offers 8 tips to increase safety.

If there was a time when locking the bolt on the front door was all the sense of security you needed to get a good night’s sleep, that time may have passed.

So says a security expert who offers additional tips to remain safe at home.
Elston Bain, a 16-year veteran of the Royal Bahamas Police Force, and founder of Tactical Security and Investigators, suggests eight ways to beef up personal safety during a lockdown and extreme conditions resulting from what he calls the “all-important fight to beat COVID-19.”

“There is no question that the policies implemented in the battle to beat coronavirus or COVID-19 are all-important and require everyone’s full support and compliance,” said Bain. “But the flip side of that is with so many businesses closed, thousands suddenly find themselves out of work, many of them out of money. There are people walking around with less than one dollar in their pockets. As hunger increases and the fear of not being able to feed a hungry child increases with it, there will be a spike in break-ins as a result of desperation.”

Ministry of Education Makes Live Broadcasting Educational Content Available for Students to Continue Learning Through COVID-19 Pandemic

NASSAU, The Bahamas – Public school students who do not have a device or internet capability will be able to continue learning although schools are closed due to the corona virus. The Hon. Jeffrey Lloyd, Minister of Education, in a Communication to the House of Assembly, Monday, April 6, announced that beginning, Wednesday, April 15, 2020 Cable Bahamas will dedicate two channels (295 and 296) for the ‘live’ broadcasting of educational content by the Ministry of Education (MOE).

Minister Lloyd told Parliamentarians that a large number of public school students do not have a device or internet capability but have to continue learning.

Each day from 9 am to 3pm, Monday to Friday, the broadcast will cover programming in the following:
1. Instructional (Live and recorded lessons streamed from the Virtual School)
2. Informational
3. Character Building

Channel 295 for students studying for their BJC, and BGCSE only; 296 will cover content for all other grades.
Minister Lloyd said the Ministry is awaiting a date for launch from Cable Bahamas.
Conchman Participants Donate to Ongoing Dorian Relief Efforts in Grand Bahama.

Freeport, The Bahamas – In November 2019, the Conchman Triathlon marked its 33rd year of friendly but fierce triathlete competition on Grand Bahama Island. Though set against the backdrop of an island ravaged by Hurricane Dorian, the 2019 triathlon attracted more than 50 triathletes from around the world - competing in categories ranging from Sprint, Team Relay, Iron Kids, and individual competition.

Over its 30 year history on Grand Bahama, the Conchman committee has worked to encourage healthy living and physical activity for men, women, and children of all ages. From attracting word-class triathletes like the renowned Hector Picard to its partnership with organizations like the Governor-General Youth Award - the committee members work tirelessly to make the annual event a highlight of the island’s social and athletic calendar. With the largest storm hitting Grand Bahama just before their annual race, the committee and athletes have extended their efforts to assist in the rebuilding of the island.
Elnet Maritime Donation to Support the Health of Grand Bahama’s Front-Line Workers

April 8, 2020 - Freeport, Grand Bahama – Generosity and compassion are in great need as we face the current global pandemic health crisis, and Elnet Maritime Ltd. of Grand Bahama has demonstrated a bounty of both.

The Grand Bahama Disaster Relief Foundation (GBDRF), the charitable arm of the Grand Bahama Port Authority, Limited (GBPA), was deeply heartened to receive a donation of $25,000 from Elnet Maritime for the purchase of masks, which will be immediately donated to the Grand Bahama Health Services.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is without precedent, and there has never been a more critical time for the people and businesses of our Island to work together and support each other,” said Ian Rolle, President of GBPA and Port Group Ltd. “With this generous donation, Elnet Maritime has demonstrated a real spirit of community in support of our dedicated front-line workers.”

Medical-grade masks are a critical piece of personal protective equipment required to safeguard the health of nurses, doctors and other front line workers as they care for COVID-19 patients, and all Grand Bahamians under their care.
DNA Leader: Government should conduct mass testing

 Bahamas faces most difficult crisis in recent memory
 Nation prays and grieves with COVID-19 victims
 Increase in testing and testing capacity imperative
 17% Mortality rate needs to be reduced
 We will get through this together

Our country is facing the most difficult health crisis in recent memory. We face a challenge of epic proportions that has cast a shadow of uncertainty on the future. My thoughts and prayers go out to the families, loved ones and friends of those who have lost loved ones or caring for those inflicted by the Coronavirus. Please be assured that we are praying for you and grieve with you.

There has been much discussion about the number of COVID-19 test kits available in The Bahamas. The last update provided by the government indicated that there are approximately 1,750 kits which can be used for testing for the Coronavirus.

The limited number of test kits means that we have to economize and use these test kits prudently until we have more at our disposal. It is unclear at this time when these additional kits will be available for testing more Bahamians and residents.
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