By LEANDRA ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
AS health officials conduct more COVID-19 testing on Eleuthera, some residents say they have already started preparing for a possible lockdown should the government take that course of action.
Their comments came after a team was deployed to the island over the weekend to assist medical workers with contact tracing and COVID-19 testing.
The move was foreshadowed by Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis on Wednesday, who revealed that plans were underway to have the COVID-19 situation on Eleuthera assessed as was previously done for Bimini.
Yesterday, The Tribune spoke to several residents for a reaction to the rising cases, many of whom said they believed a lockdown was necessary to stop further community spread.
“I would welcome more restrictions like a full lockdown because the people here are not adhering to the rules and regulations and they are moving about more often than they should for less importance,” said one Eleuthera resident, who only wanted to be identified as Mrs Pinder.
“I’ve been following all of the protocols and I have prepared myself if we were to lockdown.”
Vandolyn Albury, of Spanish Wells, said: “They say there are many cases in Eleuthera… so yeah, we have prepared.”
Danielle Gibson, another Eleuthera resident, also conceded that drastic action may be needed to respond to rising cases there as she spoke of the need for free testing, more COVID-19 supplies and more government support to help defeat the virus.
“Whether I support it or not, I think (a lockdown) is imminent as there are dozens of unreported cases here and the inadequacies of the health care system cause the cases to proliferate,” she said. “The hands-off approach and the negative stigma associated with the illness causes many to suffer in silence.
“Do not be mistaken, a lot of people are sick and a whole lot have recovered,” she claimed. “Eleutherans use bush medicine in abundance these last few months in addition to many people purchasing zinc and D3 and vitamin C.
“But, (we) need free testing more medicine, and a hospital. The clinics do not treat anyone or offer support unless you’re having difficulty breathing as there are no ventilators…But hopefully, (the prime minister) sees the errors, especially since Eleuthera is a major stakeholder in the tourism industry.”
Ms Gibson said while she herself will not be greatly affected by the move; some might find difficulties in getting the supplies they need as many do not have the funds to do so.
“I’m always prepared. Lockdowns don’t worry me because I work remotely but with very little jobs still open and the reduced payments of the food programme will not be enough, a lot of residents will be affected especially with the BPL disconnections resuming tomorrow, “ she noted.
Ms Gibson added that if the government were to add more restrictions, she hopes they inform the public well in advance so Eleuthera residents will have ample time to prepare.
As of Saturday, COVID cases on the Eleuthera climbed to 80 after an additional case was recorded for the island. On Friday, the Ministry of Health reported 15 new cases for Eleuthera.