Biminites worry island wouldn’t be able to handle a COVID-19 outbreak

Renee Robins, 52, a resident of Bailey Town, Bimini, worries that the island will not be able to handle a COVID-19 outbreak.

“By Bimini being a small island, I’ll be afraid because, you know, if it reaches here, then there’s a possibility of it affecting everyone,” Robins told The Nassau Guardian.

“The island is small and we really wouldn’t want it to come to Bimini. We wouldn’t be able to handle an outbreak like that because no planes are flying like that.”

COVID-19 has already come to Bimini, however.

Hours after The Nassau Guardian’s interviews with residents, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis advised in a press conference that Kim Johnson-Rolle, a 57-year-old Bimini businesswoman who died after being airlifted to New Providence on Monday, tested positive for COVID-19.

“The family has been informed,” said Minnis, who noted the victim was the sister of Immigration Minister Elsworth Johnson.

“Contact tracing has begun.”

Johnson-Rolle’s brother in law, Lloyd “Duda” Edgecombe, told The Nassau Guardian the family believes that had she gotten off Bimini sooner, she would have been alive.

Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands has acknowledged that it took more than 24 hours to fly her off the island.

Johnson-Rolle was the first confirmed COVID-19 death in The Bahamas. As of yesterday, there have been 21 confirmed cases of the illness.

Cassie Martin, 49, of Alice Town, said she hopes more residents will adhere to a 24-hour curfew recently imposed by Minnis, to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

“We need to try our best to obey because if you don’t obey and you get an outbreak, then it’s everybody’s fault,” she told The Guardian.

Martin said Bimini’s clinics would be able to handle an outbreak.

However, she said, she is unsure to what extent.

“I’m not saying what their mental capacity is because a lot of things are going around just making people scared,” Martin said.

“They’re equipped when it comes to the knowledge of it, you know what I mean?”

Martin said the island will just “have to deal with” the likelihood of more confirmed cases of the virus on Bimini.

She noted that “everyone here is scared of it”.

However, Beatrice Thompson, 82, of Alice Town, said she remains unbothered as the island braces for the worst.

“I am not afraid,” she said.

Asked why not, Thompson replied, “Well, if they say, ‘Don’t go here’ or ‘don’t go there’, then, I don’t go.”

She added, “I know if you’re sick and you go to the clinic, then they do their best to help you. And if you got to go away, they try to get you off the island into Nassau or Freeport.”

The prime minister yesterday advised Family Islanders “to stay home except for the exemption orders in your jurisdiction”.

The same advice has been given to all residents in the country.

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