Dr. Nikkah Forbes, Director of Infectious Diseases and Manager of the National AIDS Centre answered questions from residents of Bimini concerning the two-week lockdown for residents to help stem the number of COVID-19 cases on that island. The town meeting was hosted by the Ministry of Health on Thursday, May 21, 2020. After being identified as a hotspot and subsequently receiving reports of two new cases from the island of Bimini, the Prime Minister announced last week that a lockdown of Bimini would commence Monday, the 18th of May at 9 pm. until Saturday, the 30th of May at midnight.
Dr. Forbes explained that the two weeks was chosen for scientific methods and hopefully it will result in fewer cases on that island. She tried to reassure the residents that after the two-week period the Ministry will reassess the next steps. Dr. Forbes answered questions concerning the RT-PCR tests that is being used to detect for COVID-19 test and the different modalities which will affect how persons are treated who have the virus, or what can affect how a person will react if they get the virus. She explained that it takes time to affirm that a person has recovered from the virus because healthcare officials are strictly testing and retesting to make sure the individual has actually recovered.
Dr. Forbes stressed that masks must be used carefully: COVID-19 has changed the game and healthcare professionals now think that the use of cloth mask could be a benefit. She told participants masks need to be put on carefully, and should not interfere with breathing. She told residents not to stigmatize anyone who might have gotten the virus and recovered – that negative reaction is not necessary. Dr. Forbes also warned residents to not accept any tonic or cure that is being touted because nothing has been proven to cure it. She also told the residents that there might be a second wave of infections, so everyone should be prepared.
The Bimini Family Island Administrator’s office also presented updates to the residents for the two-week long down. At a COVID-19 update press conference earlier on Thursday, Dr. Merceline Dahl-Regis, COVID-19 Task Force Coordinator, Special Adviser to the Prime Minister said the total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 is 97. “Of that number, 75 are in New Providence, eight in Grand Bahama, 13 in Bimini, and one in Cat Cay. There were no new cases reported today,” Dr. Dahl-Regis explained.
She added that the number of recovered cases is 44. Active cases are at 42. Deaths remain at 11. Hospitalised cases are at six. A total of 1,910 tests have been completed. Dr. Dahl-Regis said in Grand Bahama, there have been 15 days since the last confirmed case of COVID-19 was recorded on that island. In Bimini, it has been seven days since the last confirmed case.