Sustained efforts to ensure needed space in healthcare facilities
By Llonella Gilbert
Oct 16, 2020 - 8:40:41 PM
Nassau, The Bahamas - Minister of Health the Hon. Renward Wells said throughout the COVID-19 response, consistent efforts have been made to increase the bed capacity at the nation’s healthcare facilities.
“We continue to work to ensure that COVID-19 patients, as well as patients with unrelated illnesses, have the needed space in our healthcare Facilities,” Minister Wells explained during a COVID-19 Update Press Conference at the Ministry of Health, Friday, October 16, 2020.
Minister Wells noted that through numerous capacity building exercises the total bed capacity for COVID-19 cases is currently at 147 beds. This count includes New Providence facilities:
South Beach Health Centre has 10 beds currently in place with a capacity of 26. There is space for 16 additional beds underneath tents supplied by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA);
- Princess Margaret Hospital has 70 beds;
- Doctors Hospital West has 22 beds; and
- Doctors Hospital East has six beds.
This count also includes facilities in Grand Bahama:
- The Cancer Association of The Bahamas has 16 beds; and
- Infectious Disease Centre has seven beds.
The Health Minister stated that currently, a total of 110 COVID-19 beds are occupied.
He said unfortunately, in the Family Islands, if a COVID-19 patient requires more than supportive care, they have to be airlifted to New Providence or Grand Bahama. Some of the hospitalized patients are from the Family Islands.
Minister Wells said, “I am pleased to report that the Samaritan’s Purse international relief organization, under the invitation of our Prime Minister, has once again come to our country’s aid.”
He explained that following the devastating impact of Hurricane Dorian in 2019, Samaritan’s Purse established a field hospital on Grand Bahama, where the Rand Memorial Hospital and numerous clinics were drastically impacted.
“They also initiated several additional projects on Grand Bahama and Abaco which aided in the physical and emotional recovery efforts of the residents on those islands.
“Now, during this global pandemic, Samaritan’s Purse will partner with the Ministry of Health and the Public Hospitals Authority to expand our healthcare capacity in our response to COVID-19.”
He reiterated that COVID-19 bed capacity at all facilities is at a maximum and in numerous other ways, our healthcare system is stretched.
Minister Wells said the Princess Margaret Hospital is beyond capacity with 73 COVID-19 patients and 70 assigned beds for COVID-19.
“To alleviate some of the strain, Samaritan’s Purse will set-up and operate a 28-bed COVID-19 Isolation and Treatment Unit. This Unit will be located on the grounds of the Princess Margaret Hospital at the rear of the PMH Blood Bank, in parking lot ‘G’.”
He explained that this facility will accommodate positive COVID-19 patients and patients under investigation (PUIs) who require hospitalization. These patients will be admitted to the Isolation and Treatment Unit through the PMH Emergency Department and medical staff referral process.
Minister Wells stated that in partnership with the healthcare workers, Samaritan’s Purse will also –
• provide Infection Prevention Control (IPC) training for essential workers;
• absorb the cost associated with the deployment of the Unit and its support staff; and
• physical set up and planning sessions will continue throughout
Saturday and Sunday.
He said the Government has committed to:
• providing lodging, meals and laundry services for 30 medical professionals and operations staff of Samaritan’s Purse at the Melia Nassau Beach hotel;
• full quarantine exemption for staff in possession of a negative RT-PCR COVID-19 test to allow them to work;
• additional Personal Protective Equipment, if required; and
• consumables for the new COVID-19 Isolation and Treatment Unit.
Minister Wells said the Unit will start treating patients as of 19th of October, 2020.
“As with post-Dorian operations, after six weeks, Samaritan’s Purse will transition out of the country, and the Isolation and Treatment Unit will be donated to The Bahamas.”
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