By TANYA SMITH-CARTWRIGHT
CAT Cay Yacht Club’s manager says the community is in “self-imposed lockdown” after a spike of COVID-19 cases emerged last week.
John McCranie told The Tribune COVID cases have now increased to 20 in number.
Over the weekend, the Ministry of Health reported 16 cases on the small island just off Bimini and home to the Cay Yacht Club — an exclusive members-only residential area and marina.
According to Mr McCranie, since this announcement the numbers have climbed slightly.
He said: “We did an entire island-wide test, yesterday (Monday), as part of what we are doing. And we identified four (cases) that came out of yesterday’s testing. That brings our total to 20.
“That information has been reported to the Ministry of Health. Now it does take the Ministry 24 hours to verify and take a look at the information that we send them. So, there is a little lag time, but the Ministry of Health has really been outstanding to work with as we negotiate this. Dr Bartlett has been particularly wonderful.”
Asked how he thinks the outbreak began, Mr McCranie said due to quick action of contact tracing it was discovered the origin came from a Bahamian who travelled recently.
“We are such a tiny cay so everyone is fairly close to each other,” he said. “We had a staff member travel to the United States and then while there he took his COVID test and all of the other steps to re-enter the country. He is a Bahamian gentleman.
“Then on his fifth day back he is required to do a rapid antigen test and the test came back positive. So right then and there we started the process of doing mandatory testing across the island and that is where we identified the cases that we have. So we immediately went into lock down.
“We believe that the Ministry of Health and Prime Minister Minnis has been very effective with regards to if you have a situation and act swiftly and completely then you can really mitigate the spread fairly quickly.”
Luckily for Cat Cay residents, the cases appear to be asymptomatic for the most part. And, there is a doctor on the island who specialises in the COVID-19 virus. The doctor is monitoring all positive cases.
“Fortunately, all of our cases are pretty much asymptomatic,” Mr McCranie continued. “Maybe some sniffles or a little scratchy throat, but no serious conditions from any of our positive cases. “Fortunately for Cat Cay we have a doctor that is dedicated just to COVID response. His name is Dr Atul Gupta.
“The lockdown is a 24-hour lockdown, but it doesn’t stop after 24 hours. Again, we are a small cay so we really have to control people’s movements so that we can, not just flatten the curve, but really chop it off. The Club paid for the tests. Our entire population agreed to the testing because they understand how important it is for us to know who has it and who doesn’t. And, quite frankly they appreciate the Club going through that effort.”
Mr McCranie noted that the idea is to remain on lockdown and continue testing until there are no new cases on the island and until those who tested positive have recovered.
He continued, “We have been focusing our efforts on enforcing the lockdown and then on having the island wide testing. We want to get down to zero cases as quickly as possible.
“Part of our lockdown is that there are no guests on the island. We informed our members that we were closed and that we will let them know when we are open and they have been very supportive. Everyone understands that it is in everyone’s best interest for us to get through the lockdown, continue the testing and then back down to a COVID-free environment.”
Mr McCranie said some of the staff members have pre-existing conditions and this is all the reason why it is so important to protect them through the lockdown. Management at the Cat Cay Yacht Club are also making sure that the needs of the staff are met.
“COVID is scary and we have some staff members who have some health issues so we take it very seriously,” he explained. “That’s why we felt that completely shutting down our business and shutting down access to the island for guests and members and then doing multiple testing. “We are providing meals that are made in the kitchen and then we deliver directly to everyone’s house. This would be people in quarantine and people in isolation.
“We also have a market here so everyone in either quarantine or isolation can call the market and then the club will deliver to them. Any staff members that find themselves without funds, we’re taking care of that and working through that concern for them.”
This is not the first time Cat Cay has had COVID cases. It would appear that management of the island, along with medical assistance, have been successful in curtailing further spreads.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health reported six new COVID cases overall on Monday. The cases are all in New Providence.