At least 30 healthcare workers tested positive for COVID-19 since July 8

At least 30 healthcare workers have tested positive for COVID-19 since July 8, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Pearl McMillan said on Friday, adding that more than 400 healthcare workers were potentially exposed to the virus in the last month.

“This 30 has exceeded the number that we had in the first wave,” McMillan said during a Ministry of Health press conference.

“All healthcare facilities, including the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH), Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre (SRC), community clinics throughout New Providence and the Rand Memorial (Hospital) have been impacted. 

“Our healthcare system capacity is challenged to respond to this steep rise in cases and persons under investigation.”

Fifteen healthcare professionals who work with Grand Bahama Health Services (GBHS) tested positive.

Eight PMH workers, four workers employed with the Department of Health on New Providence, two employed with the Department of Health on the Family Islands and one at SRC tested positive.

Up to Friday, 316 healthcare workers were possibly exposed to COVID-19 at PMH, according to information provided by health officials.

Forty-eight of those workers were quarantined at home or at a government facility, 203 were being actively monitored at work and 65 were under review. 

Those being actively monitored were assessed, and based on answers given using the World Health Organization’s risk stratification guidelines for employee exposure, were deemed to be of low risk, according to health officials. The employees are required to monitor their temperature and continue to actively work.

Those under review are those whose risk assessments have not yet been completed. 

Eleven staff members at SRC were quarantined and 32 were being monitored at work.

Sixty-seven workers at GBHS were quarantined and five were being monitored at work.

On July 29, The Nassau Guardian reported that at least three wards at PMH were closed following COVID exposure.

On Thursday, the Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) confirmed that 23 patients at SRC tested positive after a staff member, who was working across three wards, tested positive for COVID-19.

SRC Administrator Mary Walker said 39 employees were interviewed as a result of the incident.

Nine were deemed as having “moderate to high risk”, according to Walker.

“And so, we would have made sure that they would have gotten all of the care and information required for them to function safely and to make sure that they were given the same information that we give to the general public as it relates to quarantine,” she said.

“With respect to the Princess Margaret Hospital, there are several wards at the Princess Margaret Hospital, as also stated in the press release, that have had to be reorganized and patients redistributed in order to ensure that only patients who are COVID-positive are on a particular unit… [and] those who are negative are on another unit.

“So, that is what we mean when we say we create cohorts of patients so that one does not predispose the other to an infection.

“That means that yes, there are several movements of several patient populations within the Princess Margaret Hospital, and it also means that there have been the necessity, because of what they have been exposed to, the need to have both males and females on a particular unit.

“So, that is what PHA is actually inferring or meaning when they say they had to reorganize their wards within the facility. The intent is for the patient’s safety as well as the [safety of the] caregivers who have to take care of that patient population.”

The Bahamas has recorded 898 COVID-19 cases — 794 of those being recorded since July 8.  

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Jasper Ward

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

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