By Landra Rowley
Tribune Staff Reporter
Health officials revealed on Friday that people visiting the Bahamas tested positive for COVID-19 during the country’s first week, five days after arrival.
During a conference of the Ministry of Health, Deputy Chief Medical Officer Drs. Delon Brennan identified one of the passengers as a Bahamian and the other three as work permit holders.
He said he traveled to New Providence and Grand Bahamas, with each one producing a negative RT-PCR test before the trip.
“All those people had negative PCR tests before the trip and did not show any symptoms during their journey and therefore their risk of transmitting it during the actual travel time is small,” he said.
Dr. According to Brennan, the four positive cases were among 1,691 passengers who entered the country between 1 November and 6 November – the country’s first week of reopening.
Of that number, 752 were submitted for rapid antigen tests five days after arrival, mandated by the latest travel protocol, while 939 were not tested.
Dr. According to Brennan, the number of people who were not tested is partly because many travelers entering the Bahamas did not stay in the country for five days.
He said on Friday: “So, what can we do for the passengers from November 1 to November 6, there were 1,691 passengers who traveled in the country and 752 of those for the test were in line with the five-day trial And there were 939 of that group who did not test.
“Remember that, in that 939, it also includes individuals who had not lived in a five-day time period, so to collect those data would need to collect more data to form that group.
“But what we can say is that of the 752 individuals who actually tested, four were known positives. All that information came through the Health Ministry portal which has been set up by the Ministry of Tourism. “
Currently, all travelers entering the Bahamas – including visitors and residents – are required to submit a negative COVID-19RT-PCR test not older than five days and an approved Bahamas Health Travel Visa.
Visitors are also required to take a rapid antigen test five days after arrival in the country. Failure to do so can result in a fine of $ 1,000 or a jail sentence of one month.
During Friday’s press conference, Chief Medical Officer Drs. Pearl McMillan stated that the Ministry of Health is currently updating its protocol regarding the use of antigen tests on symptomatic carriers.
“Rapid antigen tests on diseased individuals will be included in our national surveillance system as positive,” he said. “We are in the process of updating, there are protocols to be included.
“. . . We are currently trying to ensure that all individuals or all entities seeking to perform antigen testing are registered with the Ministry as we did with the real-time PCR verification and verification process. “
He said: “We are moving forward with inviting all individuals who are doing antigen testing or who wish for us to be apart of antigen testing to request the Ministry of Health to ensure that the symptomatic Individuals are being tested and a minority of health is informed so that we can do the necessary contact tracing. ”
On Friday, Health Minister Reinward Wells also gave an update on the ministry’s Salvidirect trial pilot program, noting the program is being included in several family islands – including Bimini, Abco, Exuma, Eluthera, Grand Bahamas and New Providence Are included.