Sunday, November 29, 2020

Why Chester Cooper Is Against Exuma’s Strict Measures

After Prime Minister Hubert Minnis implemented restricted measures for Exuma following a rise in COVID-19 cases, area representative Chester Cooper is speaking out against one aspect of the measure that he believes will “dramatically shift the state of everyday life on Exuma”– the weekend lockdowns.

“While the rapid rise in cases on Exuma is very troubling and some restrictive measures may be warranted to slow the spread, I do not support full weekend lockdowns.

“Had anyone in Cabinet bothered to ask my advice, I would have been happy to assist,” he said.

Why it matters

  • Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said there is an exponential increase in cases on that island following the October holiday weekend and two major social events.
  • Over the past week, Exuma has recorded 30 new confirmed cases of COVID-19.
  • As of Tuesday, the 10th of November, a total of 79 positive cases of COVID-19 were recorded on the island of Exuma. Of that number, 28 cases are active, two are hospitalized, and there has been one COVID-19 related death.

Reasons why Chester Cooper says he opposes weekend lockdowns

  • They are too blunt an instrument for the situation as it stands.
  • Exuma is just now experiencing some relief on the tourism front after months of lingering in the economic doldrums.
  • Exuma has international flights now coming in from Florida and North Carolina on Saturdays.
  • And Exuma was experiencing serious interest in domestic travel from New Providence before the quarantine was reinstated.
  • Not only will this damage our brand internationally, but it will further starve Exuma’s economy of vital tourism dollars.

What PM Minnis says

Dr. Minnis acknowledged that it was short notice as the measures come into effect on Thursday, but he said the measure is a critical part of the strategy to contain and to control the spread of COVID-19 throughout the country. He said this measure is designed to stop possible spikes on other islands because of individuals who may be COVID 19 positive, quickly moving to other islands.

What’s the plan?

The strategies employed by our health officials are as follows:

  • When there is an exponential increase in new confirmed cases of COVID-19 over a short period of time, restrictive measures will be put in place to mitigate the spread in that location.
  • The number of health officials on Exuma has increased, including a team consisting of contact tracers and members of the surveillance unit will be deployed to Exuma on Friday for further assessment.
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