Abaco in “precarious situation” with COVID, ongoing reconstruction — says MP

Abaco in “precarious situation” with COVID, ongoing reconstruction — says MP
Central and South Abaco MP James Albury

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Central and South Abaco MP James Albury said because the construction industry represents a major hotspot for COVID-19, Abaco is in a “precarious situation” as reconstruction forges on.

Infections on the island continue to rise, albeit more slowly in recent weeks.

“It’s something that is on everyone’s mind, including my own,” Albury told Eyewitness News.

“We’re in a very precarious situation and trying to handle that as well as handle reconstruction of course, is a double whammy that is really keeping us on the back foot. We’re pushing forward as much as possible, but there is always a danger there in terms of a resurgence.

Abaco has the third-highest number of infections in The Bahamas with 104 infections as of yesterday, trailing Grand Bahama (607) and New Providence (2,186).

The island remains in recovery mode more than a year after deadly Hurricane Dorian decimated many of its once-thriving communities.

Amid the height of lockdown and curfew measures nationwide, exemptions were made for reconstruction of the island, a major undertaking, to continue.

The MP said while it is hoped a rapid increase is avoided, “realistically, if it does happen it will require a lot more effort on behalf of the health team”.

He said an increase in cases and exposures also challenges residents, many of whom remain in alternative housing and tents.

“Even quarantining is difficult for lack of available housing, so it is a big concern and it is certainly nothing to take lightly,” Albury said.

“It is certainly nothing that we can afford to sleep on.”

Albury said while new infections per appear to have somewhat slowed “things can change tomorrow”.

“We’re at [over] 100 cases spread out through several areas — Moore’s Island, Sandy Point, and some of the cays as well — so we have a bit of a spread of cases, and we’re dealing with a disaster already within a disaster,” he said.

“It’s a very challenging position for the health team on the ground, so I do give them kudos.

“I think they have been working very hard to make sure that testing and monitoring is going on.”

Asked about compliance with emergency protocols on the recovering island, Albury said: “There are always going to be people who try and skirt around the law or skirt around the laid out protocols, but it’s something that Abaconians are taking very seriously.

“…Those members of society who are not really complying of course are going to face the end of the law on that.

Of the total cases on Abaco, 25 were recorded in the last two weeks.

In the two weeks prior, 35 cases were recorded.

This means in the last month, Abaco has more than doubled its cases — from 44 on August 20 to 104 yesterday.

During the first wave, which spanned mid-March through the end of June, Abaco recorded zero cases.

Moore’s Island in the Abacos recorded its first few cases on July 23.

Two days later, a case was recorded on Great Guana Cay in the Abacos.

And on July 28, mainland Abaco recorded its first case.