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Covid-19 concern at care homes

Care home staff will be banned from working at multiple sites under amendments planned by the Ministry of Health.

Health minister Kim Wilson announced the move yesterday to try to cut the risk of Covid-19.

She was speaking after The Royal Gazette reported last Friday how a 66-year-old resident from the Matilda Smith Williams nursing home was in critical condition with the coronavirus in hospital.

The senior developed a fever and cough at the Devonshire home before being admitted to the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital last Monday, when he was put on oxygen to help him breathe.

He was said to have shown some improvement yesterday, and his condition was unchanged today.

David Burt, the Premier, told the Gazette he had been informed of “possible cases at nursing homes” and had directed for all residents and staff in affected nursing homes to be tested.

The Royal Gazette has asked the Government how many other care homes have confirmed cases of Covid-19.

We also asked if there had been other cases of the illness in the Matilda Smith Williams Home.

Ms Wilson said of the proposed amendments: “We hope this will further safeguard our residents from Covid-19 by eliminating any potential transfer of the disease among the different long-term care homes by unknowing staff members.

“Further, the country's testing capacity will continue to prioritise rest homes and other high risk persons.

“Additionally, I can confirm that today a thorough deep cleaning commenced of several of our long-term care facilities.”

Ms Wilson appealed to the public not to publicise sensitive information about seniors in care homes.

She said: “It came to my attention yesterday that individuals are circulating sensitive information regarding their elders who reside in care homes, specifically their Covid-19 status.

“This was really disheartening to hear as these residents have the right to have their privacy and dignity respected at all times.

“Their health condition is confidential. Our elders, though they may be our family, have rights too. These rights are to be respected.”

Ms Wilson added that the Bermuda Community Foundation had donated computer tablets to care homes to allow “tele-health compliance monitoring” to reduce foot traffic in them.

She said: “In mid-March, monitoring of all care homes commenced through daily telephone calls from Ministry staff to each facility and daily reports were produced reflecting the responses, concerns and most pressing needs.

“This has now been replaced by an electronic form and reporting system.”

Ms Wilson added: “Care home administrators underwent Covid-19 preparedness training in early March to ensure that prevention measures were being taken to stop respiratory germs from entering the facilities and from spreading within the facilities.

She said care homes had followed strict Covid-19 rules two months before Bermuda had its first case and staff had met health officials on a regular basis.

Matilda Smith Williams rest home (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

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Published April 12, 2020 at 2:09 pm (Updated April 12, 2020 at 2:10 pm)

Covid-19 concern at care homes

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