By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Senior Reporter
DEPUTY Chief Medical Officer Dr Delon Brennen said it could take another four weeks before the lockdown can end on Family Islands that have not yet recorded a confirmed case of COVID-19.
The country had 53 confirmed COVID-19 cases up to press time. Statistics suggest there could be another 250 people “flying under the radar” as asymptomatic or having mild symptoms because 80 to 85 percent of people with COVID-19 fall into these categories, he added.
Some Family Island residents are anxious to head outdoors and carry on with their lives.
“We haven’t had any cases yet and it’s been over two weeks and they say the incubation period is 11 to 14 days,” said Ray Lightbourn, owner of Exuma Water Sports, in a Tribune interview yesterday. “We’ve been probably locked down for 20 days so we should be able to open up since we haven’t had a case in 14 days. There is no reason Exuma people shouldn’t go about their business.
“And I’m not saying open up to airports or the boats, I think we should keep them closed until this dies down but lots of people can still work during this time, people can at least go to the hardware store to buy stuff to fix up their homes if they can’t work like me since I’m in tourism, so I can’t work but at least I could fix up my boats and my house instead of just being locked down all the time.”
Nelson Ranger, a destination wedding photographer in Exuma, said he wants the freedom to move about now that Exuma has gone longer than 14 days without a case.
“Some people want to get out to their farms,” he said. “A lot of people grow onions and watermelons and they want to get out and make sure that’s not overgrown. I do a limited amount of farming and I haven’t seen my place in a month now and I don’t know, the robbers might have been out while they should’ve been on lockdown so who knows how that’s going to look.”
However, Dr Brennen said the country needs more than one incubation period to be satisfied there is no risk of an outbreak on islands that have not yet recorded a case.
“You still could have people who are shedding the virus,” he said. “Once you open up all the stores and social activities you would then let asymptomatic people pass it on to others. Ideally, if people had been keeping themselves in place when we initially implemented the order, more than one cycle could have passed by now but we need more than one incubation period.
“Let’s say someone didn’t start shedding but became symptomatic on day 14. If they did, then their disease period could last anywhere from another two weeks to another four weeks, so you’re still dealing with about another four weeks, which is six weeks total. So you would have at least six weeks out to when you could assume that people who got exposed might be completely free of any possibility of sharing the disease.”