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Govt scraps 20-bed facility at RBDF base for COVID-19 patients

The government has canceled its plans to build a 20-unit COVID-19 facility on the Royal Bahamas Defence Force’s (RBDF) Coral Harbour Base, Acting RBDF Commodore Dr. Raymond King said yesterday.

On March 16, King said the defense force was working with the Ministry of Public Works to prepare a quarantine facility for COVID-19 patients at the base.

However, yesterday, he told The Nassau Guardian, “A site was identified on property owned by the Royal Bahamas Defence Force.

“However, the Ministry of Health has since changed course on that and we are now using medical facilities across the Commonwealth of The Bahamas in lieu of building that facility here at HMBS Coral Harbour.

“As you see, there’s focus on Doctors Hospital [Shirley Street] as well as Blake Road. They’ve done some repairs at the South Beach Clinic and I think one or two facilities at Princess Margaret Hospital.”

He said a decision was made to use existing structures rather than “building something from the foundation”.

The Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan released in late-February calls for the establishment of remote field hospitals for potential COVID-19 patients.

At the time, Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands said plans were for field hospitals to accommodate up to 20 patients.

The facility at the RBDF base was expected to be one of those hospitals.

Doctors Hospital on Blake Road is now being used for COVID-19 patients.

On March 31, the ministry said that a newly built unit on the grounds of PMH for the care of COVID-19 patients had been completed and was “ready for handover”.

The unit has two isolation rooms for patients but will be able to process suspected as well as confirmed cases.

The part of the unit designated for COVID-19-positive patients will have a separate entrance from suspected cases.

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