Bimini sees rise in COVID-19 cases

Having recorded eight new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, Bimini is again emerging as a Family Island hotspot for new cases.

The island went through a two-week lockdown in May, when there were 13 confirmed cases.

In the weeks following the lockdown, there were no new confirmed cases.

However, in the past month,  16 new cases have been reported, bringing the island’s total to 29 as of Sunday.

Vincent Ellis, 68, a lifelong Bimini resident, said that while he believes another two-week lockdown could be helpful in stopping the spread of the coronavirus, he is not sure the island can withstand it economically.

“I can’t say it wouldn’t be a good move,” he said.

“[B]ut I don’t know whether Bimini could afford another lockdown. I’m for it, but boy, I don’t know if some people can afford it.

“Some of them got their jobs that they’re going to and that might affect that.”

Ellis said a recent round of Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) disconnections hit the community hard.

“People are going to ask how they’re going to pay their bills, because, boy let me tell you, last week, [BPL] had a massive turn off,” he said.

“A lot of people on this island don’t have electricity.

“It’s the most I’ve ever seen on this island. There’s plenty of people without electricity.”

He added, “That, alone, could cause some problems.

“[P]eople have been taking their money and just buying groceries, something to eat, you know.”

Lloyd Edgecombe, 65, a member of the local government council, said he’s disappointed to be experiencing another surge in cases, after having already gone through such stringent measures in the past few months.

“I’m disappointed because during the lockdown, a lot of people made a lot of sacrifices,” he said.

“To be locked down in a community like Bimini was not easy. You had to help out a lot of people, the ones who are doing a little better than the others, they had to help out. And between that and local government and social services, we were able to survive that.

“But I don’t think another lockdown, it may be needed, but boy, I don’t know, it’s very difficult.

“[We] don’t have the resources here for that and I don’t know if the government has the resources for another lockdown. The last one was really costly.”

West Grand Bahama and Bimini MP Pakesia Parker-Edgecombe said that while Bimini residents have been mostly compliant, she believes some cases on the island have been tied to funerals.

“I do believe that following the lockdown, COVID was imported into the community again when a number of funerals took place,” she said.

“People became relaxed. Biminities, for the most part, did right with the lockdown.”

Parker-Edgecombe also noted that there have been instances of people on the island with possible symptoms of COVID waiting long to seek medical attention.

“I strongly admonish them to take the necessary measures to protect themselves,” she said.

“The government and health officials cannot do it alone.

“Additionally, there have been persons who are seemingly experiencing symptoms and either not going to the doctor or waiting too long to do so. I am appealing to anyone who may be experiencing such to get checked.”

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