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COVID-19 outbreak on Cat Cay

The private island of Cat Cay, just off of Bimini, was placed under a 24-hour lockdown on Friday, after the Ministry of Health (MOH) confirmed 16 positive COVID-19 cases on that island.

According to the ministry, there was a mass testing exercise on February 18 at a workplace on Cat Cay, which saw 175 people tested.

The ministry said 16 workers tested positive for COVID-19, but were all asymptomatic.

One person had a recent history of travel to the United States, the ministry said.

The new cases pushed the total number of confirmed cases for Bimini and Cat Cay to 99.

In an urgent memo to members, guests, employees and construction personnel on Friday, Cat Cay Yacht Club, an exclusive members-only residential area and marina, implemented an immediate 24-hour lockdown as a result.

The memo read: “It has therefore been decided to impose an immediate complete lockdown on the island. This means that you must stay in your residence or on your property without exception. Circulating around the island is not permitted.”

All club services were subsequently closed, except for the market, which the memo advised was available for deliveries only.

When contacted, management at Cat Cay Yacht Club was unavailable for comment.

West Grand Bahama and Bimini MP Pakesia Parker-Edgecombe said while the spike in cases created a bit of concern, it shows that Bahamians cannot let their guards down just yet.

“I do recall that Cat Cay would have had some cases in the past and the management of that cay, along with health officials, were able to work together and bring those down rather quickly,” she said.

“So, the work continues, and this just demonstrates that we cannot let our guards down and it’s even more relevant now that we continue to adhere to the safety protocols.”

Cat Cay is a private community known for second-home owners and frequently has travelers from the United States, according to Parker-Edgecombe.

The cay has a workforce of around 160 people.

“They [the second home owners] would normally come with the protocols already in place,” she said.

“Cat Cay has always been very instrumental, to be honest with you, in taking those tests that were required in the beginning and they continue to do effective work. So, I don’t have any concern with them being able to ensure the safety of not only persons that are coming in but those that are working on the cay. It’s just now a matter of making sure that everyone is safe.”

The 24-hour lockdown was not extended and day-to-day operations on the island have resumed.

While there was extensive testing on Cat Cay, Parker-Edgecombe said she believes there needs to be more testing done for residents on Bimini as a result.

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Kyle Walkine

Kyle started with The Nassau Guardian in June 2014 as a broadcast reporter. He began anchoring the newscast four months later. Kyle began writing national news and feature stories in 2016. He covers a wide range of national stories. He previously worked as a reporter at Jones Communications. Education: College of The Bahamas, Bachelor Media

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