Dr. Kendal Capron, head of Good Samaritan’s Senior Citizen Homes, said fears of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) keep him up at night.
Speaking with The Nassau Guardian yesterday, Capron said he is worried about the 30 residents at the home and what would happen should even one of them become infected with the highly contagious virus, which can be particularly lethal for the elderly.
“If only one person would come and just bring that even to the gate, I’m afraid, really,” he said.
“I have some lovely people inside the Good Samaritan home and I really don’t want anything to happen to those elderly people.
“Honest to God, it bothers me.
“I can’t sleep at night, worrying about the people, worrying about what’s going to happen to those people.”
Capron said he’s concerned not just for the residents at Good Samaritan but for senior citizen homes across the country, and for himself and his wife as well.
He claimed his concern is exacerbated by the fact that phone service at the home is not working, which he believes to be due to a bill that cannot be paid as offices are closed.
“Not only them, but this could affect me and my wife, and if me and my wife are affected then the whole thing will go under because everything will be affected because we have to be there,” he said.
“[T]hat’s a concern for myself because I am now 78 this year, and all those things that could kill a person, I have that.
“I have sugar, hypertension, I have cholesterol, anything that could kill you quick. So I’m concerned. At my age and [in] my condition, I’m concerned.”
The Bahamas has five confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Under emergency orders to attempt to contain the virus, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis ordered a national 24-hour curfew under which “every person shall remain confined to their place of residence inclusive of their yard space to avoid contact outside of their family”.
He also ordered that all establishments, institutions, businesses, offices, stores and organizations “remain closed” to the general public until March 31, with few exceptions.
Capron said all of the residents have been moved into just one location, in Yellow Elder, and that visitors are strictly prohibited during this time.
He noted, however, that donations such as adult pampers are still very badly needed and are being accepted at the gate to prevent anyone aside from staff entering the home.
A few employees have also been sent home until the end of the month, with pay, but Capron said those that are still working and moving about freely are one of his biggest concerns.
“We are worried about the staff who have to go home and come back in,” he said.
“That is the biggest problem we have right now, the staff who have to go home and go all about to the food stores.
“The food stores and the wash house is where you’re really going to catch that, and we have to be careful.”
Capron added, “We are trying very hard to keep visitors away, and some of the relatives can’t understand that they can’t come in over the place.”
Frances Ledee, an administrator at Persis Rodgers Home for the Aged, on the other hand, said family members of their residents have been understanding about the situation.
“Visitors, since last Monday, we really advised them for some time and are thanking them for cooperating,” Ledee said.
“For now, this special time, families have been most cooperative, and our groups who would come on certain days are understanding.”
Ledee said that although visitors are not allowed, the home is still accepting “every single bit of donation”.
As she noted that Persis Rodgers has “been preparing a little ahead of time and so forth”, she also said that staff is regularly cleaning and sanitizing everything at the home.
“We are managing and our staff, the really committed ones, are here,” Ledee said.
She added, “It is going okay, but you know there will always be the one or two who would take advantage of the situation.
“But that’s alright, and we communicated with the police central control, you know we work with them to let them know who should be out on the road.”
Capron, meanwhile, expressed strong support of the emergency orders but said he still feels people are not taking the virus seriously enough.
“If we don’t be careful, the only people to really get anything out of this will be undertakers because there will be too many dead bodies,” Capron said.