By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Deputy Chief Reporter
CONSULTANT physicians are disheartened by the alarming number of patient deaths related to COVID-19, sparked by an exponential increase in cases since the country re-opened its borders.
In a press statement last night, Consultant Physicians Staff Association president Dr Sabriquet Pinder-Butler said the surge in cases has not only significantly strained medical workers, but main health facilities now have no more space for COVID-19 positive people.
The situation, she said, has stretched teams beyond measure.
Highlighting last Friday’s death of Bernadette Rolle, a Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre nurse, the association said the country could not afford to lose any more doctors, nurses or healthcare workers to the virus or from physical and mental exhaustion.
As as result, the seniors physicians made an appeal for Bahamians to follow COVID-19 prevention protocols, adding a recommendation of a “zero-tolerance” approach for people who do not wear masks, abide by quarantine orders or go out in public while sick or knowing they are COVID-19 positive.
The statement read: “Members of the Consultant Physician Staff Association along with other essential healthcare workers have been on the frontline in the fight against COVID-19 for the past six months.
“Since the re-opening of our borders, we have been exposed to an exponential surge in COVID-19 positive cases resulting in a significant strain on our healthcare workers who are experiencing burnout and even more exposures.
“We are also disheartened by the alarming increase in patient deaths related to COVID-19, as well as the recent loss of our nursing colleague who worked along with our healthcare team at the Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre.
“Hence, the CPSA feels obligated to publicly appeal to, and reach the citizens in The Bahamas that we have sworn an oath to serve. This pandemic will not come to an end any time soon. We understand that the people of The Bahamas need to see a light at the end of the tunnel regarding our physical as well as our economic well-being as a nation.
“Given that our main healthcare facilities have no more space for COVID-19 positive persons, and our health care teams are stretched beyond measure, the CPSA recommends a zero-tolerance approach for persons who do not wear masks in public, abide by quarantine orders, or worse, go out in public while sick or knowing that they are COVID positive,” Dr Pinder-Butler also said.
“We cannot afford to lose any more of our physicians, nurses or other healthcare members to COVID-19 nor to physical and mental exhaustion.
“We are hopeful, as healthcare workers and as long suffering residents of The Bahamas, that lessons were learnt from the prior reopening attempt, and that the relevant authorities would make best effort - with proper consultation with all stakeholders - to protect our borders, monitor public health and social compliance, and secure our economic future as a sovereign nation.”
Since July, 72 healthcare workers contracted COVID-19, health officials said earlier this week.
And as of August 19, the Ministry of Health said 28 healthcare workers at Grand Bahama Health Services tested positive for COVID-19; 18 at Princess Margaret Hospital; 18 at Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre; seven at the Department of Public Health (DPH) on New Providence and one at DPH on the Family Islands.
Up to press time, 48 COVID-19 deaths had been reported out of more than 1,900 cases, the majority of them recorded after the country reopened its borders on July 1.