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PMH wards reconfigured after COVID-19 exposure

The Princess Margaret Hospital.

The Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) yesterday announced a reconfiguration of its wards at Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH), Sandilands Rehabilitation Center and the Rand Memorial Hospital on Grand Bahama.

The announcement came two days after The Nassau Guardian reported that roughly 50 patients were potentially exposed to COVID-19 across three wards at PMH in the last week.

The incident led to the closure of the wards, according to a hospital source.

In a statement, PHA said, “The move comes as the authority has recorded an increase in the number of persons presenting to hospital and staff testing positive for COVID-19 which has put a significant strain on resources, including bed capacity.

“For the purposes of continuing clinical services, the PHA has reconfigured ward utilization during this time to manage patient admissions subject to their medical needs and gender. The current exposure of employees and patients across our hospitals is being managed subject to international infection prevention control guidelines for infectious outbreaks of this kind and the policies of PHA.

“The normal process follows that contacts (patients and employees) are screened, tested, quarantined or isolated subject to the presentation of symptoms. Every effort is being made to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 within our institutions.”

On Wednesday, Bahamas Nurses Union (BNU) President Amancha Williams sounded the alarm over what she said is a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) made available to nurses on the affected wards.

“The only thing that the nurse is wearing on the ward is a surgical mask, gloves and an apron, not even a yellow gown,” Williams said.

She added that nurses haven’t been provided with N-95 masks, commonly used by healthcare professionals on the frontline.

Yesterday, the PHA said it has also increased its distribution of PPE for staff working across the hospitals.

It said this was done “to ensure the safety and protection of our valued employees”.

“We are making every effort to ensure that no COVID-19-positive patients are housed or treated at the main campuses of our hospitals,” PHA said.

“All cases identified for hospital care will be referred to the designated government facilities for care.

“The public is asked to partner with us as we fight to contain this pandemic by contacting their personal physicians or local community clinics during the day for non-emergencies and only access their respective Accident & Emergency Department in the event of an actual emergency or after-hours.

“Similarly, requests for ambulance services should be limited to emergencies only.”

Staff Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues.
Education: Goldsmith, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice
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