The Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) can confirm that there has been an increasing number of cases of COVID-19 across our healthcare facilities in New Providence and Grand Bahama. This occurrence is consistent with COVID-19 spread worldwide in hospitals, as there is a higher rate of infection among emergency room doctors and nurses given that they are the first point of contact for patients suspected of being COVID-19 positive. In the Bahamas, the assessment, testing and investigation protocols for staff implemented by the PHA is being guided by the approved policy of the World Health Organization (WHO), and in line with the national policy under the Ministry of Health.
Some of the measures that have been implemented to protect staff and patients include providing for an increased and consistent stock of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to staff across all of our facilities, increasing the frequency with which the hospital is sanitized, and rerouting of general hospital traffic in order to maintain distancing between non-COVID-19 patients and those suspected of being positive for COVID-19.
Additionally, the PHA has improved its bed capacity at the Princess Margaret Hospital through the transfer of boarders to accommodations in line with their needs and has secured a private facility offsite for quarantining and treating suspected COVID-19 cases. This approach effectively minimizes the potential for spread of the virus among non-COVID-19 patients and staff within the Princess Margaret Hospital. Outfitting of PPE’s for staff at the private facility has been supplied and will continue as guided by the increased stock ledger. Resources inclusive of security, have also been beefed-up at the private facility to treat patients under our care.
The health and safety of all patients and staff of the PHA continues to be our priority. As the situation continues to evolve, the PHA will continue to implement protocols to minimize patient and staff exposure across its institutions and agencies. This will from time-to-time result in service and organizational changes but the expected outcome of these measures will be for the benefit of all. Discussions to ensure that we exercise the best possible approach to these adjustments will continue to be done in conjunction with the unions and our teams across the PHA.