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Restrictions eased on hospital visitors

Family and friends can see patients in wards after the Bermuda Hospitals Board entered the first phase of relaxing visiting restrictions today.

A limited number of designated people can visit loved-ones in acute care at the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital and the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute.

The BHB said that visiting — except for in the cases of end of life, births and unwell children — was stopped in April to “safeguard patients and staff” because of the rising number of Covid-19 infections in the community and the risks they posed to patients.

Judy Richardson, the chief of nursing, said: “We are not out of the woods yet and Covid-19 remains a threat.

“However, we understand the huge difference it will make to those in our care to see their loved ones.

“We are moving cautiously and monitoring the Covid-19 presence in Bermuda closely, but hope that continued low infection rates will allow us to gradually relax further in the coming weeks and months ahead.”

Norma Smith, the Vice President of acute and ambulatory care, added: “Visitors are a vital support for patients, bringing love and connection to those in our care.

“It was such a hard decision to stop visitation, and as long as infection rates remain low and all government rules on wearing masks, physical distancing and hand hygiene are followed, we will allow limited visitation from 3 June.”

Patients in isolation will not be allowed to receive visitors.

These include patients who have been confirmed as having Covid-19 or who are waiting for Covid-19 test results.

The BHB explained that anyone admitted to an acute care unit is tested for the coronavirus and results take at least 48 hours.

It said that during the first stage of easing restrictions at the hospitals, visitors must maintain physical distancing, good hand hygiene and mask-wearing, including in private patient rooms.

Visiting can be suspended if the rules are broken.

Patients must identify their visitor as a “support person” before they arrive. Names will be kept at the front desks of KEMH, MWI and nurses' stations.

People who are feeling unwell will not be allowed to visit; visitors will not be allowed to use patient bathrooms; and overnight stays are not permitted during this phase.

For patients in acute care at KEMH:

• Designated support people can visit for two hours each day between noon and 6pm.

• Visitors should check into the front desk at the acute care wing lobby.

• In the three acute care ward units where patients are in large private rooms, two visitors can attend at any one time.

• In Curtis Ward in the General Wing of KEMH, due to space and the use of public and semipublic rooms, one visitor will be allowed at any one time.

In the Intensive Care Unit:

• One designated support person per patient is allowed to visit for two hours between 10am and noon, or 4pm and 6pm.

At the Emergency Department:

• Patients should come to emergency on their own, to minimise numbers in the ED waiting room and ensure physical distancing is possible

• Exceptions for one visitor will be made for vulnerable persons and children, combative people, end of life cases and in the case of deaths, prior to or within the ED.

In the maternity unit:

• One designated support person may stay up to eight hours after the birth.

• If the mother is not discharged within 24 hours, the support person will be allowed to visit for up to two hours a day between 10am and noon.

• The support person will need to stay in the mother's room.

For adults, children and adolescents receiving acute inpatient care at MWI:

• Designated support people can visit for up to 30 minutes each day between noon and 6pm.

• Visitors should check into the front desk.

• One visitor will be allowed to visit in a public space such as a family conference room.

King Edward VII Memorial Hospital (File photograph).

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Published June 03, 2020 at 11:55 am (Updated June 03, 2020 at 11:55 am)

Restrictions eased on hospital visitors

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