A police officer attached to the Fort Charlotte Police Station, which was shut down after another officer tested positive for COVID-19, showed up at the South Beach Clinic to be tested for the virus but was denied.
The officer, who has a heart condition and lives with elderly persons, grew concerned about his health and the health of his family after he discovered that he had been exposed to a positive case.
His colleague at the Fort Charlotte Police Station was not tested for COVID-19 until two weeks after he began displaying symptoms of the virus. The first time the officer sought medical attention, a physician informed him the problem was his tonsils. However, after his condition worsened, his superiors ordered him to get tested. His test came back positive. That means other officers at the station were exposed to the infected officer for two weeks before they learned he has coronavirus.
A fellow officer decided to be proactive and find out if he too was infected because he is among the vulnerable group of Bahamians and lives with senior citizens, who are also at risk of experiencing more severe symptoms if infected.
However, when he begged to be tested, officials at the South Beach Clinic refused and told the officer to quarantine. He questioned how he was expected to quarantine at his home when elderly persons also live there.
Covid-19 is rampant on the Royal Bahamas Police Force, which has infected officers on Grand Bahama, the Criminal Records Office and Fox Hill Police Station. On Bimini, six officers are in quarantine, creating a manpower shortage on the island. However, National Security Minister Marvin Dames, who never met a microphone and camera he didn’t like, remains silent on this urgent matter.
The officer’s inability to get tested after being exposed for a prolonged period also highlights the need for widespread testing - something the government has repeatedly promised but failed to deliver on. The Bahamas has 382 confirmed coronavirus cases but as of today, only 4,014 tests have been completed.
Meanwhile, Barbados has 110 confirmed cases of COVID-19 but over 10,000 tests have been completed.