NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Health officials have began increased coronavirus (COVID-19) testing on Bimini after two more cases of the virus has been confirmed on the island.
The first recorded COVID-19 case on Bimini was also the country’s first recorded virus-related death.
Kim Johnson-Rolle, the sister of Immigration minister Elsworth Johnson, died in Princess Margaret Hospital shortly after being airlifted from Bimini on March 30.
Concerns over the island’s healthcare capacity center on the timeframe to airlift Rolle, and the availability of ventilators.
Since then, there have been two additional cases of COVID-19 on the island taking the number to three on the island, with the overall number of cases in the country standing at 72 to date.
Coordinator of the country’s COVID-19 response Dr. Merceline Dahl-Regis advised yesterday that contract tracing continues on the island, with all the people who may have come into contact with those cases.
“We are hoping to expand the testing in Bimini, having had three cases now,” she said.
“That is pretty advanced in terms of setting up the teams and scheduling for the persons to be swabbed and then we have to have the swabs sent to Nassau for testing.”
Those testings reportedly started yesterday, and health officials are expected to test as many as 40 to 50 people in Bimini by today.
Dahl-Regis also noted that there is air transport with a patient isolation unit in place.
“So air ambulance is transporting these persons with the necessary protective gear from the site to the delivery at the institution,” she said.
Officials are expected to ramp up rapid COVID-19 testing this week to get a better representative sample of community spread of the virus.
Testing for the virus has already been conducted in New Providence, Grand Bahama, Bimini, North and South Eleuthera and Cat Cay.
All of the residents on Cat Cay were tested for the virus and all results came back negative.
There have been no additional cases confirmed on any of the Family Islands.
Seven confirmed cases have been confirmed in Grand Bahama, 61 in New Providence, one in Cat Cay.