The Nassau Guardian April 24, 2020
Health Minister Dr. Duane Sands revealed yesterday that more than 200 health care workers are in quarantine after possible exposure to COVID-19, including 96 doctors and 62 nurses from Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH).
During a virtual press conference, Sands also said that of the 72 confirmed cases of the virus, 15 are health workers.
Many of the 200 workers are connected to an incident at PMH in which a patient tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week.
“In total, more than 200 health care workers are in quarantine,” Sands said.
“However, we believe that upon completion of our risk assessment activity, this number is expected to be reduced dramatically.”
In addition to the 96 doctors and 62 nurses, nearly 50 other workers across other departments at PMH are also in quarantine.
These include 12 rehab (including respiratory tech) workers, nine radiologists, one person in facility management, eight people from the laboratory, four emergency medical technicians and one porter.
Sands said all of the patients who were on the Medical-Surgical Ward II at PMH were tested for COVID-19.
“Contact tracing and exposure assessments commenced for the people discharged from the ward and those who were in contact with the current patients on that ward,” he said.
“Currently, there are only four patients on the ward. Three of the four remain in isolation. And one remains on the open ward. As long as patients remain on this ward, routine sanitization measures are being followed.”
He added, “All persons will be monitored closely. They will be tested for COVID-19 and, if required, they will be admitted to one of our COVID centers for care.”
Sands said a patient from the Robert Smith ward at Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre (SRC) was also impacted by the incident, resulting in the quarantine of 39 patients and 46 staff at Sandilands. Sands said that patient was hospitalized at Doctors Hospital West.
He said the ward, which is the child and adolescent unit of the facility, has been sanitized.
“SRC referred a patient from the Robert Smith Unit to Princess Margaret Hospital for further medical management on April 5, 2020,” Sands said.
“This patient received treatment at PMH and was discharged on April 15th, 2020 back to SRC.
“Days later, the Medical-Surgical Ward II at PMH was declared compromised on the discovery of a confirmed positive COVID-19 patient on the ward. Consequently, the ward was closed to admission on April 18, 2020.
“The patient of the Robert Smith ward from SRC was returned to PMH on April 19 to be tested for COVID-19. And on April 20, it was confirmed that this person from the Robert Smith unit had contracted COVID-19. And this patient is now receiving care at the Doctors Hospital West facility.”
In light of the incident at PMH, Sands said measures will be taken to limit outsiders’ contact with people in the hospital. He said patient updates will be conducted over the phone and meals and beverages delivered for patients by relatives and friends won’t be accepted.
Video calls will be set up to allow patients on the children’s ward to interact with their parents and guardians.
The ministry has opened the South Beach Acute Care and Referral Centre.
“South Beach Acute Care and Referral Centre started to accept COVID-19 patients on Sunday, April 19, following re-fitting for accommodations for 10 beds,” Sands said.
“The South Beach centre will be further refitted to accommodate an additional 10 beds, bringing to 20 the total number of beds for COVID-19 patients at that facility.
“Contractors are working around the clock to complete the additions by the weekend.
“This should bring the total number of beds for COVID-19 patients in New Providence to 40; 20 at South Beach, 16 at Doctors Hospital West and four at the PMH modular unit.
“By tomorrow morning six COVID-19 beds will be available in Grand Bahama and within a week to 10 days a total of 22.”
The minister also announced that two men, infected with the virus, died. Their deaths pushed the total number of deaths related to COVID-19 to 11.