On death of suspected COVID-19 patient

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Senator Michael Darville, COVID-19 Task Force Co-Chair

Opposition spokesman on Health

31st March 2020

The PLP is saddened by the passing of the suspected COVID-19 patient as advised by the Health Minister today and we stand in prayerful sympathy with the family of the deceased during this difficult time.

The circumstances of this case raise significant concerns regarding the processes in place to support persons who fall ill from COVID 19 in the Family Islands. The government has emphatically assured and reassured the public through numerous press conferences that all of the health and safety protocols are in place including the required equipment not only in New Providence but also in the Family Islands to adequately address suspected cases of COVID 19. On close examination of the timeline I am constrained to ask why it took the government some thirty hours to respond to this emergency. Bahamians are questioning the government’s preparedness to handle this crisis on the ground, quite apart from speeches at choreographed press conferences. Pointedly, are the facilities in the Family Islands equipped to attend effectively to persons who exhibit extreme respiratory distress? If they are not, what alternative arrangements has the government made to give urgent medical support to such persons?

Further, given the close knit nature of the Bimini community and if this case is confirmed positive for Covid 19, we are calling on the Ministry of Health to move swiftly and execute the required contact tracing protocols and deep cleaning of the clinic because this could very well be a complicated public health issue.

If the government is to engender public trust, confidence and continued cooperation in this fight against this pandemic, it is critically important that they provide details regarding health care response protocols for not only New Providence but for all of our Family Islands.