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Concern over crowded church of Dorian survivors on Abaco

The Nassau Guardian March 27, 2020

Rachel Knowles

As cases of COVID-19 increase in The Bahamas, some are concerned about the ability of officials to prevent community spread on Abaco, which was ravaged by Hurricane Dorian only months ago.

Denalee Penn-Mackey said between 80 and 100 Dorian survivors are living in a church on the island, which has no electricity and no running water.

She said the church is only one example of the issues faced by Abacoians.

“A lot of persons have not yet recovered from Hurricane Dorian,” she said.

“A lot of persons are living in places where they have no running water, no electricity.

“A lot of persons don’t have access to cable, because they have no television. Some persons don’t have a smartphone. So not everybody really was told about this COVID-19 situation.”

Penn-Mackey added, “These same persons, if they become infected, there are other areas of the community where they often go – the food store, the gas station and we only have one little clinic there.

“…If it’s not managed now, I foresee that we’re going to have a real disaster on our hands.”

There are nine confirmed COVID-19 cases in The Bahamas. Eight are on New Providence and one on Grand Bahama.

Health officials have warned that they expect a surge in cases.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis announced a nationwide 24-hour curfew and lockdown in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus.

Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands, when asked about the Abaco matter yesterday, assured that social distancing requirements will be enforced everywhere.

“The emergency orders apply across the length and breadth of The Bahamas,” he said.

“Social distancing requirements apply just as well in Abaco as they do in New Providence.”

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