January 23, 2022
Free testing for COVID-19 has finally come to Grand Bahama, through the Ministry of Health and Wellness; and Minister for Grand Bahama, Hon. Ginger Moxey was on hand Saturday, January 22, 2022, to be among the first set of Grand Bahamians to be tested at the testing site in the Foster Pestaina Auditorium at Christ the King Church.
Minister Moxey described the launch of the free testing site as “an exciting day for Grand Bahama,” noting that with schools set to reopen, the testing site and others set to come, will become a vital tool in the fight against COVID-19.
“The launch of this free testing is part of the Davis Administration’s commitment, which we pledged during the campaign; and now this is a fulfillment of that promise,” said Minister Moxey. “We intend to have this free testing rolled out in other communities in Grand Bahama, with Eight Mile Rock next on the list, with other communities to follow.
“COVID has affected all of us throughout the country and Grand Bahama island has not just been dealing with the pandemic, but we have also had to deal with the effects of Hurricane Dorian. So, this is a good day for us here in Grand Bahama. This facility will be opened to residents from 9-5, Monday through Saturday.”
“We are happy that Christ the King has agreed to assist and facilitate this launch today,” said Minister Moxey. “We are so grateful for the lab partners who have come on board to be a part of this. “We want to continue to thank all of the health care professionals who have been going above and beyond in dealing with this pandemic from day one and providing us with the kind of health care that we need in this time.”
Dr. Frank Bartlett, head of the COVID-19 Task Force in Grand Bahama echoed Minister Moxey’s sentiments, adding that the initiative is a very important one in helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in Grand Bahama. Outlining some guidelines for residents who will be using the testing sites, Dr. Bartlett said that those attending the sites must ensure that they have no symptoms of COVID. Those with symptoms, he said, should either contact their private physicians or visit a public clinic.
He said that the testing offered at the site will be the rapid antigen test and not the PCR – those, he said, can be obtained at private testing sites at a cost.
“One of the things you want to keep in mind also as the public utilizing these facilities, when you do get your results back, it is important that if it is positive you should be contacted by the disease surveillance team,” said Dr. Bartlett.
“We’ve had and still continue to have challenges at times with reports getting to the disease surveillance team in a timely fashion, so if you notice that one to two days have passed and you have not received a call from the disease surveillance team, if you are positive, you should contact the hospital.
“If you do test positive, because the test they’re doing here are what they call ‘screening tests’, you will have to follow up with a PCR test to confirm any positive results.”
Dr. Bartlett pointed out that Grand Bahama is still in a health crisis in terms of the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, reminding individuals to not let their guards down. He encouraged members of the public to continue to adhere to the health protocols like frequent washing of hands, wearing of proper masks and staying away from huge gatherings. During the launch of the free testing on Saturday free KN95 masks were distributed.