With ongoing expansions at Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) and South Beach Clinic, Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands said he expects the facilities on New Providence to be able to accommodate roughly 44 COVID-19 patients at one time.
Sands said the government is doing all it can to ensure that all COVID-19 patients who experience serious symptoms get access to the necessary healthcare.
“The unit at PMH could accommodate seven,” he said.
“Doctors Hospital east could probably accommodate seven. Doctors west could probably accommodate 15. South Beach could probably accommodate 15.
“So if you look at those numbers and bear in mind that only five percent of patients are serious or critical, when you crunch the numbers you would now be looking at a national caseload in the many hundreds.
“But as we watch how this unfolds, then you can strategize differently depending on your timeline to get infrastructure built.”
So far, there are 14 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in The Bahamas — 12 on New Providence and two on Grand Bahama.
Health officials have confirmed that there is community spread.
Sands said medical professionals have enough personal protective equipment to last for the next month and more is on the way. However, he warned that the availability of the equipment could become an issue if not properly managed.
“We have had an ongoing exercise for many weeks now to procure personal protective equipment, and I’m very pleased with where we are now for the next month or more,” he said.
“And more are on the way. You have some places in the United States that are having to reuse masks, reuse personal protective equipment or in some instances do without.
“I think we thankfully managed to get on this early enough that that has not been a problem.
“Now if you liberalize the use of personal protective equipment and increase your burn rate, particularly if it’s being used for less than appropriate indications, then you can precipitate a scenario where you don’t have enough.
“And so, that balancing act is very, very important.”
Sands urged the public not to purchase and use masks unnecessarily.
“If the supply of PPEs remains right, then the people who need it most will find that they don’t have it,” he said.
“And then you cannot provide for them. So, we have to be very judicious, very careful.”