After two cases of COVID-19 surfaced on the tiny island of Crooked Island this weekend, many residents fear more cases may be coming and called on the government to implement a complete two-week lockdown to prevent any further spread.
Chief Councilor David Daxon said yesterday that he spoke with residents and many have called for stringent measures due to the vulnerability of the far-flung island, which has a population of nearly 300 people.
“The general mood in Crooked Island is one of cautiousness,” he said.
“We weren’t expecting this to happen, not in Crooked Island, but since it’s already here, everybody is following the protocols.
“I think many of the residents are hoping for, or calling for, a two-week complete lockdown of the island so as to isolate and minimize whatever effects are already here.”
Daxon added, “I have had conversations with numerous persons in the community and we talked about the possibilities. It’s a very small community and so everybody knows one another.
“The general consensus is [that] the best course of action would be to impose a complete lockdown for the island.”
As of Saturday, there were two confirmed cases on Crooked Island. The island, along with several others in the southern Bahamas, avoided cases for months while other parts of the country struggled with outbreaks of COVID-19.
However, only weeks after they were reopened for regular business, cases popped up on Inagua, Acklins and Crooked Island.
On Friday, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis placed Acklins and Crooked Island on a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew and noted that all provisions in the emergency orders will apply to the islands.
There are two clinics on Crooked Island – one in Colonel Hill and one in Landrail Point.
Residents rely on air ambulances or medevac flights in the event of dire health situations or emergencies. The Nassau Guardian understands that one of the three nurses on Crooked Island is in quarantine.
A local pastor, Barbara Gibson, said the circumstances make the confirmation of cases on the island particularly worrying.
“We can say that the thing that we feared the most has come upon us now,” she said.
“And a lot of our residents are in panic mode.”
Gibson called for assistance to be sent to the island, given reports that a healthcare worker is out of the system.
“I can tell you that I am very, very concerned, because according to a message that was released from a nurse here on the island, she said that some nurses are also in quarantine,” she said.
“So, as far as I know, only the nurse in charge is up and going and she has to care for this community, which is very difficult and hard for her. I think that the Ministry of Health needs to send some help to Crooked Island as soon as possible.
“You know, we are very, very far away. And as far as I know, I don’t know of any places that have been set aside for quarantine or isolation when persons may have contracted this virus.
“So, you may have elderly people in homes with persons who tested positive or are showing signs. That’s very concerning for me, and I’m sure for the rest of the residents of Crooked Island. I think we need some urgent attention and our nurse needs help.”
Ernel Heastie, another resident of the island, said he would support a two-week lockdown of Crooked Island to prevent the situation from worsening.
“A two-week lockdown, it may be a good thing,” he said.
“[It] would definitely isolate everyone and you could figure out who shows up with symptoms and who doesn’t and…isolate and treat the ones who are infected and try to keep everyone else safe.”
Heastie added, “We only have 260 people in Crooked Island but everyone frequents one store.
“We buy gas from the same place… So, it’s hard to avoid each other.”