Some Crooked Isl. and Inagua residents worried about rising COVID-19 cases

Some residents on Crooked Island and Inagua said they are worried about the rising number of COVID-19 cases on their far flung islands.

Elvie Cunningham, 63, a resident of New Providence, moved to Crooked Island in July to escape a wave of COVID-19 cases on the island.

Cunningham was raised in Church Grove, Crooked Island, and told The Nassau Guardian yesterday that she did not expect any cases on the island. 

“To me, it’s disappointing because I was so happy to get out of Nassau,” Cunningham said.

“I said, ‘Good, I’m going home and there’s no COVID-19 virus here.’ 

“But, now that I’m here and we’ve heard what’s happened over the past couple weeks, I feel disappointed. I’m just hoping that that’s the end of it.” 

Crooked Island reported its first two cases of the virus on August 22, according to the Ministry of Health.

It reported another three on September 9.

Edith Bain, 66, a resident of Cabbage Hill, Crooked Island, said the five cases are concerning.

“Being a small island, one is too much,” she said.

“Everybody has to be mixed with everybody. We go to the same little food store. We go to the same gas station. We meet at the dock to get our groceries. We’re mingling with everybody, so if one person has it, we will have to communicate in some way with that one person and that is concerning for us.”

Bain said residents are following health protocols, including social distancing.

She said they are worried about imported cases following the resumption of inter-island travel on Wednesday.

The Bahamas reported more than 2,600 new cases of COVID-19 since it reopened its international borders on July 1. Cases had only been reported on New Providence, Grand Bahama and Bimini prior to the reopening.

Two months later, 11 additional Family Islands reported cases. 

Inagua — The Bahamas’ most southern island — reported its first case on August 11.

It reported another case four days later.

There were 11 cases on the island by August 31.

On September 9, health officials said there were a total of 16 cases on Inagua — three of which were reported that day.

“We’re trying to cope as best as we can,” said Mary Arnette, a 71-year-old Matthew Town resident.

She said she was surprised to learn that the number of cases had gotten so high.

“Nobody likes what’s happening but the people, they would not obey the rules and that’s why it’s probably gotten like that,” Arnette said.

“There ain’t nothing we can do but continue to pray.” 

Wendy Bain, 59, also a resident of Matthew Town, worries people from islands are traveling to Inagua and bringing the virus.

“They usually come by boat and other things,” she said.

“I believe they’re bringing it. A lot of time we have the defense force and the police come in. They change them over and over again so that’s a concern.”

Bain said she is worried about a further deterioration in the COVID-19 situation on the island.

“Treatment is a big issue,” she said.

“We’re so far down as one of the last islands. It’ll be kind of difficult for people to get timely medical attention and stuff like that.

“But, it is what it is.” 

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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