Eleven cases of COVID-19 on the island described as an “emerging hotspot”
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — As cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) continue to creep up in Bimini, a small western island with just over 2,000 residents, two local officials have called for the government to consider a prolonged lockdown and increased testing to curb new cases.
Glenderick Rolle, 45, member of Bimini’s Local Board, told Eyewitness News is a heightened sense of concern on the island among residents.
“Everyone is concerned,” he said. “Everyone just feels like there needs to be more tests.
“There are only 2,000 people here. Try to do as much as you could. I guess they are waiting for you to have symptoms, but it looks like most people appear to be asymptomatic, so you don’t know who is who.
As of yesterday, there were 92 confirmed cases of the virus in The Bahamas.
Eleven of those cases stem from Bimini.
A town meeting on Zoom this week saw more than 200 residents participate.
Many expressed concerns about the plight of the island.
At last report, nearly 400 people were tested for the virus in Bimini.
An eight-member team from the Surveillance Unit was on the island for several days last week.
Eyewitness News understands that team returned to New Providence on Saturday.
Rolle said he believes a two-week lockdown would help to isolate cases and prevent further spread — a call made by West Grand Bahama and Bimini MP Pakesia Parker-Edgecombe amid health officials describing Bimini as an “emerging hotspot”.
“I feel we should lock it down for two weeks, but then we can’t lock people down and they don’t have any food in their house, but we should be able to take special care because it is a limited amount of people here,” he said.
Prior to the nationwide shutdown, Rolle ran a ferry business from south to north Bimini.
He has allowed his competitor to continue operations, opting to discontinue business to protect his health and that of his family.
He is a father of four.
“We have two services here and the other service has been working because it’s not much movement — just local, and not tourists — so it’s not feasible for both of us to be really moving like that,” Rolle said.
“Right now, my concern is my health.
“I am trying more or less to sit back. I have another guy. He is an older guy. He is almost 60, so I don’t want to put him at risk and I don’t want to put myself at risk right now.”
A member of the local government council, who did not wish to be named at this time, said drastic measures are required for the island, which she said is facing a “drastic situation”.
“I personally believe we should have a shutdown for at least 14 days and see where that takes us,” she said.
“Assuming Bimini is in a drastic state, I think we should do drastic measures.
“In fact, I thought we should have already done a prolonged shutdown.
“But with that being said, there will be a lot of persons and things involved if that ever happens.
“That has to come from the prime minister.”
The district council member also said “everyone has been up and about” since the partial reopening on Monday, increasing concerns about the potential spread of the virus.
According to both officials, the vast majority of residents have adhered to social distancing protocols, but there remain those who ignore the requirements.
Creating more panic and fear. Bimini is done with the lockdowns, quarantines, mask wearing, stores closed, banks closed for weeks, mail service denied to the island and restrictions of their freedom.
Four hundred tested on the Island and only 3 were positive. What about the other 397 people? Is the glass half empty or half full? There were many Bahamians that were sick starting last December when it was well known there was an active virus (if one reads global news). These results mean that 397 people had the virus and now do not have the virus, many people on the island think they might have had a mild reaction to the virus occuring over the past several months. These results mean that 397 will not get the virus. You can not waste time and effort, you would have to test these people daily to get the results you want.
Staying at home, exercising in a postage stamp size yard, no longer having an income, no social communication is what is defeating a strong self-acquired immune system. Denying beach access, the potential source itself of substenence, denying breathing and contact of natural microbes in nature is what will destroy the strength of the people. The virus is deadly to 3% of the at-risk population, that means 97% will live and develop a natural immunity as nature and the human body is designed for.
“A member of the local government council who does not want to be named,” what responsible local government member would not want to be named! All we know is that it is a she that said to “assume Bimini is in a drastic state.” Yes, drastic due to day before announcements of closures, no plans for residents to obtain and store food, no plans for residents to get money, deposit checks when the only bank on the island is closed for over a week. Mandatory wearing of face masks, which in the first case are not readily available on the island, and is a joke to see people trying to comply wearing a varity of ineffective cloth masks. Masks are preventing humans from breathing the air they need to breathe, their immune systems are being more and more compromised every day they are restricted to the house, to wear a mask, their bodies can fight germs, humans have fouught germs for centuries and survived.
Reference to the man who is 60, unless he has co-morbidities or is bed-ridden, knowing the strength of the Bimini people, he is neither. If there is a elderly ppopulation, let them choose to remain quarantine, let their neighbors help them but for the love of God, let the people get back with their lives.
Its a terrible situation. I’ve heard first hand there are food shortages and some can’t access their bank accounts to get money. This may seem minor but I have a boat stuck in Bimini that I can’t bring back to the US. I need an hour on the island and I would be gone. I could bring some supplies over with me at the same time. It could be similar to what was done after the hurricane.