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Hospital elective surgeries could restart as soon as Covid cases fall

King Edward VII Memorial Hospital (File photograph)

Elective surgeries, put on hold as King Edward VII Memorial Hospital grapples with the island’s worst outbreak of Covid-19, are expected to restart soon.

Wesley Miller, the chief of staff for Bermuda Hospitals Board, said admissions for the illness had fallen to the same level as discharges.

Thirteen of each were recorded in the past week, with discharges hoped to exceed incoming patients soon.

KEMH ramped up to disaster level four, its highest level of alert, as cases soared.

While hospital officials opted to keep the alert in place after a review on Monday, Dr Miller said that the falling case numbers were encouraging.

The Intensive Care Unit remains full, with satellite ICUs running, but the extra units will close if the trend continues, moving the hospital to disaster level three.

Operating theatre and clinical staff could then return to their regular tasks, said Dr Miller.

Latest Vaccination Statistics

Vaccination rates crept upward this week, with 69.6 per cent having received at least one shot.

Kim Wilson, the health minister, said 67.1 per cent of residents were fully immunised with two doses.

In people over age 65, 82.5 per cent had one shot with 80 per cent fully immunised.

Between January 11 and October 9, 260 unvaccinated people ended up in hospital, compared with 32 immunised.

Of the 79 deaths recorded in the same period, 66 (84 per cent) were not fully vaccinated while 13 (16 per cent) were.

“We are certainly trending in the right direction.

“Therefore, in short order, we will be able to make an announcement as to when we start elective surgeries and open our clinics,” added Dr Miller.

Hospital staff off work because of the pandemic have fallen from the high 80s to 23.

Dr Miller said 70 per cent of nursing staff were now immunised with 4 per cent in progress. Clinical staff, he said, were “particularly keen to get their booster doses”.

The island’s restrictions against its fourth outbreak of Covid-19 remain in place for another two weeks, including curfew.

Kim Wilson, the health minister, said that virus case numbers were “trending in the right direction”.

She added: “There are a number of indicators to assist us with whether or not we introduce more mitigating measures, or we roll them back.

“First and foremost is the healthcare system. We do not want it overwhelmed. Not just the hospital but testing, the laboratories and all our healthcare system, nursing homes and the like.

“What factors we use as indicators are our positivity rate, our real-time reproductive rate, and our mortality rate.”

Ms Wilson said there were eight key indicators tracked by health officials when it came to decisions on when to relax restrictions against the virus.