Hospital cuts visits and braces for surge in Covid-19 patients
An overflow intensive care unit is to be pressed into service as the hospital braces itself for a surge in Covid-19 cases, it emerged tonight.
The King Edward VII Memorial Hospital and the Mid Atlantic Wellness Institute will also introduce visiting restrictions and routine surgery as part of the fight against the disease.
Wesley Miller, the Bermuda Hospitals Board Chief of Staff, said: “BHB is now experiencing an increase in emergency visits and admissions.
“Higher community transmissions also increases the risks of an individual visiting a loved one and not knowing they are infected.
“We have once more prepared our overflow ICU in the surgical area so that we can care for all those who need it.”
Dr Miller admitted: “These actions divert resources and space, which impacts our other services.
“We apologise for the impact on patients and families as we manage this surge and thank everyone for their co-operation and understanding.”
A BHB spokeswoman said the hospital would halt visits to inpatients and long term care residents at the KEMH and MWI from tomorrow and cancel elective surgery.
The maternity unit, the Gosling ward – for child patients – and intensive care patients will be allowed limited visiting by designated individuals.
Patients at the hospice, Agape House, who are close to death will be allowed two visitors in their room at a time, but both will have to wear full personal protective equipment.
Judy Richardson, the BHB chief of nursing, said: “We have seen numbers surge in the community and this is now being seen in our hospitals too.
“We have been through surges before and know that timely action maximises the safety of all people in BHB units and group homes.
“We feel for all the people who will see less of their families and loved ones, but our first step is to strengthen the protections that help protect them.
“We need everyone to play their part in keeping our most vulnerable people safe, so thank the community in advance for their understanding and partnership in following all guidelines and precautions."
Michael Richmond, the BHB CEO and president, added: “We are all working extremely hard to manage our bed capacity and focus resources where they are needed so we are able to care for all who need it, as medical emergencies still happen on top of the increase in Covid-19 cases.”
Dr Richmond said: “It not only adds to the clinical pressures felt by individuals and services, but brings continued financial pressures to BHB and the healthcare system and we were under pressure even before the pandemic.”
He added that the BHB had worked hard to achieve savings through efficiency programmes, contract reviews and management of assets.
Dr Richmond said: “The financial costs of responding to the pandemic, on top of international increases of medicines and supplies, and the pressure to keep pace with international standards in healthcare to offer the people in Bermuda are immense.”