Twenty-four more COVID deaths were confirmed over the weekend, one of which happened a year ago.
Of the deaths, 13 occurred in September, seven in August, one in July, one in May, one in March, and one in October 2020.
The victims ranged in age from 42 to 96.
Sixteen of the victims were men and eight were women.
Eight of the victims were from New Providence, four from Abaco, three from Andros, three from Eleuthera, three from Exuma, two from Bimini and one from Cat Island.
The latest deaths bring the confirmed toll in The Bahamas to 557. An additional 119 people have also been confirmed to have died with COVID, but not because of it.
The number of deaths still under investigation also increased dramatically over the weekend, from 41 on September 30, to 66 on October 2.
When asked for clarity on the sharp increase in deaths under investigation, Coral Miller, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Health, confirmed the figure was correct.
“Thirty-three deaths were recently reported,” she said.
“However, they have been recorded as deaths under investigation.
“As they are confirmed, they will be documented in the COVID-19 report.”
Miller also addressed the inclusion of a death that occurred one year ago, noting it was only just recently reported.
“As for the death that occurred in October 2020, this is also correct,” she said.
“This death, although it occurred last year, was just reported to the Ministry of Health, and now is being reported to the general public.”
Dr. Nikkiah Forbes, director of the National HIV/AIDS and Infectious Disease Programme, said yesterday that while she does not have information on the latest confirmed deaths, numbers at Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH), up to September 30, continue to indicate that the overwhelming majority of COVID deaths are among unvaccinated individuals.
The numbers have remained steady even with the increase in the number of people opting to get immunized.
“Very much so, we are still having the experience where 95 percent of admissions are unvaccinated persons,” Forbes said.
“About three to four present are partially vaccinated, and of those that are partially vaccinated, 58 percent were admitted less than four days after the first dose of their vaccine, so you know that that is not fully protected at all.
“And less than one percent of these admissions are fully vaccinated.
“When it relates to deaths, our updated information up to September 30, it’s still a similar picture. Ninety-five percent are unvaccinated persons. About [three to four] percent are partially vaccinated, approximately. And we’re seeing [approximately] one percent of persons fully vaccinated that have died from COVID.”
Forbes noted the fully-vaccinated people who died “had conditions making them immunocompromised”.
She added, “And so, it’s important to recognize that COVID vaccines are effective and critical tools to bring the pandemic under control. And no vaccine is 100 percent effective at preventing illness. And some fully-vaccinated persons may get sick. Some will even be hospitalized and, uncommonly, some may die from COVID-19.”
Test positivity rate
According to the Ministry of Health, 198 new COVID cases were confirmed between Thursday and Saturday.
Of them, 180 were on New Providence, eight on Grand Bahama, five on Eleuthera, one on Andros, two on Inagua, one on Acklins, and one on Exuma.
New COVID cases seem to have been decreasing slightly in recent weeks.
From September 27 to October 2, 537 new cases were recorded.
From September 20 to September 26, 593 cases were recorded.
From September 13 to September 19, 648 cases were recorded.
From September 6 to September 12, 621 cases were recorded and from August 30 to September 5, 712 cases were recorded.
The decrease in cases has come as a pleasant surprise to some, who worried that the recent election season would inevitably result in large gatherings and a greater spread of COVID.
Former Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis called an early election as The Bahamas was experiencing the worst surge in COVID cases and hospitalizations it had ever seen.
Crowds at drive-in rallies, on Nomination Day, at the advanced poll, and on Election Day, prompted concern among many.
Adding to the worries, just a day after the election, Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis relaxed the curfew to midnight for all islands that were on curfew, in a move some worried would result in an uptick.
But the number of new cases in recent weeks has been notably lower.
While the test positivity rate has remained significantly higher than the maximum of five percent recommended by the World Health Organization, the rate appears to be decreasing.
With 47 positive results out of 537 tests, the positivity rate on October 1 was 17.3 percent.
On September 30, the rate was 12.9 percent — one of the lowest rates seen during the entire month of September.
The numbers are down notably from early September, when rates were consistently over 20 percent, and on some days spiked as high as 70.5 percent (September 12).
However, the rates have continued to differ drastically from day to day, with some daily rates still in the high 20s, while others dip below.
Last week, Forbes warned that it was still too soon to be confident in the decline in figures, noting that health officials must continue to pay attention to the numbers over the next several weeks to see if they continue to decrease.