September 09, 2021
THE highly contagious Delta variant is the predominant strain in The Bahamas, the Ministry of Health confirmed yesterday, after getting back genomic sequencing results from samples sent to a laboratory in Brazil.
The announcement comes as 104 COVID-19 cases were confirmed in the latest dashboard for September 7. The number of hospitalised cases also ticked upwards for a new record of 193, including 15 people in the intensive care unit.
To date, 453 people have died from COVID-19.
Large crowds have been seen gathering for recent political events such as motorcades and drive-in rallies, while thousands of people are expected to vote in today’s advance poll ahead of next week’s general election.
Health officials have again urged people to avoid large groups of more than five people and to remain at least six feet away from others.
The ministry said in a statement: “The National Reference Laboratory submitted 98 SARS-CoV-2 virus-positive samples to the FIOCRUZ Laboratory for genomic sequencing. The samples were collected between May 6, 2021 and August 8, 2021 from individuals on New Providence, Grand Bahama, Andros, Eleuthera, Exuma and Bimini.”
Of the 98 samples, 41 showed sequencing for the Delta variant, 39 for the Alpha variant while one was positive for the Gamma strain.
The Ministry of Health said there remains 18 samples going through the genomic testing process.
“The new sequencing results confirm that the Delta variant is the predominant variant in The Bahamas, followed by the Alpha and Gamma variants,” the ministry said. “It is noteworthy to mention that the Alpha variant is more transmissible than the original COVID-19 virus, and the Delta variant is known to be more transmissible than the Alpha variant. Consequently, all major health facilities in New Providence and Grand Bahama are experiencing increased numbers of cases, hospital admissions and deaths due to COVID-19.”
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