Family Islands want COVID details


Tribune Staff Reporter


FAMILY Island residents say they want more data from health officials to determine what type of transmission is happening in their communities causing COVID-19 cases to rise.

Their comments come after health officials released Wednesday's COVID-19 data, showing an increase in cases on several Family Islands including Inagua, Crooked Island and Mayaguana.

The Tribune contacted several residents to get a reaction on the matter, many of whom said they were shocked to see the new cases.

Inagua resident Giselle Fielder said the situation is particularly worrying because residents are being left "in the dark" about the island's COVID-19 cases.

Mrs Fielder said while she understands the need to protect the confidentiality of COVID positive patients, locals should still be privy to certain information like the patient's travel history and how many people are in quarantine on the island.

"Nobody knows who's infected and I'm okay with that because that's none of my business, but I need to know who's out there going to the foodstore, going to the gas station," she said.

"I need to know who should be in quarantine and how many are in quarantine and how are they conducting these contact tracing except going through the nurses and going through the doctors up here. But I need to know are they doing a good enough job?"

Ms Fielder also claimed that a quarantine facility has yet to be identified for the island.

"We're abandoned," she said. "We always get thrown under the bus. In Inagua, it's like we're not in The Bahamas and we get what's left and it's just so unfair because some of these people should've been under mandatory quarantine."

On Wednesday, the Ministry of Health reported three additional cases for Inagua, bringing the total count there to 16.

In response to the increased cases, Ms Fielder said she and her special needs daughter have been forced to remain at home and limit social interaction.

"I'm extremely uncomfortable," she said. "I wanted to go to church this coming Sunday and I can't go anymore. I don't know who's going to be in church and yes, it is sad and I feel like we're being neglected."

Crooked Island native, Edith Bain said locals are also concerned about the rise of COVID cases on the island, which rose to five after three new cases were recorded by health officials on Wednesday.

With a population of some 300 people, Ms Bain said five cases are just way "too many" especially considering the limited resources on the island.

"Five is too many for Crooked Island," she said. "We are on high alert because it's spreading and we have to interact some way or the other.

"We go to the same mail boat. We interact on the dock. We interact in the food stores, we interact with each other in the church so, of course, we would be concerned."

In Mayaguana, there is also a deep level of fear in the community due to the rising cases, which increased to three on Wednesday.

Audrey Charlton, a resident in the community, said the only information she knows about the island's COVID cases is what's released on the daily health dashboard.

In New Providence and other islands where press statements are often released about building sanitisations due to COVID-19 exposure, Ms Charlton said that is not the case on Mayaguana.

"As far as sanitation and stuff, I don't know," she said. "The only information we saw was the number on the dashboard and when I spoke with the nurse she said the police and the nurses are making sure that those persons are staying confined at home."

Still, the resident said locals would like to have more information about the cases and what type of transmission occurring on the island, causing an increase in infections.

She told The Tribune: "Even with the first case. It's like everyone is staying put so how did it get on the island? We didn't have any plane and the mail boat dock, you had people wearing their masks? The workers on the mail boat, they wore their masks so how did it get there?

"Where is their travel history? Who are they connected to? You know we hear little 'sip-sip' but we would like to have more information."

She said the situation is also concerning parents, who are now reluctant to send their children to school for possible face-to-face instruction depending on the ministry's guidelines.

Residents there have recently been upset over the Ministry of Education's decision to amalgamate the public schools on Mayaguana. Officials have said that children on the island will be accommodated by one of the three models - complete virtual, complete face-to-face or a hybrid.

Yesterday, Ms Charlton called for education officials to hold a meeting with parents in Mayaguana to hear their concerns before making a final decision.

"At the risk of your children's health knowing the expense and all that, it is safer to keep the children at home and do homeschooling. But the director has to do something. I think they owe it to the parents to come and meet and say exactly what is what," she said.

"You cannot save the government's money at the risk of our children's health. A parent's responsibility is to make sure their children are healthy."


DDK 3 years, 8 months ago

One mega farce. IF "IT" exists kindly enlighten the citizens of this jerked around Country, DOCTOR Minnis. They DO have a right to the truth!


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