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Buildings converted as BHB braced for pandemic demand

King Edward VII Memorial Hospital (File photograph).

Renovations worth about $1 million at hospital buildings helped to increase space that could be used to cope with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Bermuda Hospitals Board has revealed.

Work at Montrose Cottage, on the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital site and Hibiscus Cottage at the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute in Devonshire, were allowed to continue in line with shelter in place regulations last spring.

The buildings were earmarked as “swing space” to be used if non-acute, support or administrative services had to be relocated.

Preparations were made by the Bermuda Hospitals Board last year for increased clinical space in case of a surge in Covid-19 cases.

As well as additional negative pressure rooms in the acute care wing and an overflow option for the intensive care unit, acute care space was added to a former surgical area of the hospital’s general wing.

A BHB spokeswoman explained: “Within KEMH, we were able to manage the hospital care of Covid-19 cases during the first wave in spring.

“Back then, the overflow intensive care unit beds in the acute care wing surgical area were used for a small number of Covid-19 cases.

“Thankfully, we did not have to use additional acute care beds for the hospitalised Covid-19 patients as numbers did not exceed our capacity on the acute care units, especially with all the individual rooms being converted to negative pressure, which keeps airborne pathogens in the room.”

She added: “As we are experiencing a second wave of cases now, the overflow ICU in the ACW has been re-established after being closed down over the summer when Covid-19 prevalence was low.

“This is a precautionary move.

“The additional acute care beds and space could still be used if hospitalisation numbers continue to rise, and if they rise beyond our current capacity on the acute care units in the ACW.”

The BHB said last April that it would use “all the buildings on its campus as potential swing space”.

Construction work was carried out at Montrose and Hibiscus cottages “to ensure the additional space was ready for people to work in if needed”.

R Scott Pearman, the BHB chief operating officer, said at the time that BHB staff and contractors “worked extremely hard to prepare additional clinical space in the hospital and swing space options outside the hospital building where non-acute, support or administrative services can temporarily relocate if needed”.

The cost of the work was included in a list of BHB contracts valued at $50,000 or more published in the Government’s Official Gazette under Public Access to Information regulations.

The list showed that renovations at Montrose cost almost $900,000 and work at Hibiscus totalled about $177,000.

A BHB spokeswoman said: “Montrose Cottage has individual office spaces and we were able to reduce the occupancy of staff based at Craig Appin, which is open plan, by moving the organisational development team to this area.

“Hibiscus Cottage did not have to be used as Covid-19 swing space and the current plan is for it to be used for intellectual disability clients with complex needs, helping us meet a community need for this type of service.”

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Published January 04, 2021 at 8:01 am (Updated January 04, 2021 at 7:58 am)

Buildings converted as BHB braced for pandemic demand

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