Health officials said the island has become an “emerging hotspot”
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — West Grand Bahama and Bimini MP Pakesia Parker-Edgecombe yesterday called for a complete lockdown on Bimini for two-weeks to curb the spread of the virus on the island, which has been labelled by health officials as an “emerging hotspot” for COVID-19.
Speaking to Eyewitness News, Parker-Edgecombe said she has been inundated with calls from concerned residents, whom she said have requested more restrictive measures to prevent further spread.
“I know with the recent increase in COVID-19 cases, many are concerned,” she said.
“Obviously, they are of the view that more stringent measures have to be taking place.
“Keep in mind, we continue to appeal to residents to social distance, as well as stay indoors, but Bimini is a very closely-knit community.
“With the information reaching us now that we have more cases, we are not taking it lightly. But at the same time, we are of the view that we have to have this two-week lockdown in order to become more secure.
“At the end of the day, we want the government to know that this is what we are pushing for as a community.”
Parker-Edgecombe suggested the 24-hour curfew and weekend lockdowns extended until May 30 may not be sufficient for Bimini, given the size of the community — approximately 2,000 people.
She said during the proposed two-week lockdown, nothing should come in or leave the island unless in circumstances of an emergency.
The Free National Movement MP also called for additional law enforcement officers to be deployed to the island during the lockdown period to ensure compliance and said expanded testing must continue on the island, particularly among people associated with identified cases.
Additionally, she called for the island to be sprayed, similar to cleaning undertakings in New Providence.
On Sunday, Minister of Health Dr Duane Sands said Bimini has emerged as a COVID-19 hotspot in The Bahamas, as he underscored cases on the island had surpassed Grand Bahama.
As of yesterday, there were 80 cases of the virus in the country — 64 in New Providence, eight in Bimini and seven in Grand Bahama.
Kim Johnson-Rolle, the sister of Minister of Immigration Elsworth Johnson, was the first recorded case of the virus on the island and also the country’s first recorded virus-related death.
Two additional cases — a 63-year-old woman and a 78-year-old man — were confirmed on Bimini last week.
On Saturday, five females in Bimini, including two young girls, ages 11 and 15, tested positive for the virus.
None of the new patients had a recent travel history.
Each of them were been isolated at home.
The new cases brought the total number of cases in Bimini to eight. There was another case confirmed on Cat Cay.
Expanded testing began in Bimini last week to capture asymptomatic carriers and limit the spread of the virus.
Nearly 400 people had been tested in Bimini as of Sunday, according to officials.
More residents were expected test positive for the virus as testing continued.
In Parliament Monday, Sands said the data supports the view that the virus is spreading mostly through community transmission.
The Bahamas recorded just one imported case and four imported-related cases, while the remaining 75 cases were the result of community spread.
Of the 80 cases, 40 percent were men and 60 percent were women.