Princess Margaret Hospital. Photo: Shawn Hanna/Tribune staff
by Agatha Ingraham
No visitors will be allowed into the Princess Margaret Hospital and all wards are now closed to the public, it was announced yesterday.
Access to entrances to the hospital and to the wards within have been restricted in an attempt to “ensure the safety of patients and staff during the COVID-19 crisis”.
With a number of medical staff already in quarantine and the numbers of positive cases rising in the country, the Public Hospital Authority (PHA) and PMH released a press statement yesterday indicating that “only emergency cases will be managed during this period”.
The health authority said “all visitations remain suspended at the hospital until further notice”. Members of the public are advised to “contact their personal physicians or community clinics for non emergencies during the day and accident and emergency after hours”. Specialty clinics have been suspended at the hospital until further notice. The Eye Care Centre on Soldier Road and Family Medicine Clinic at 4th Terrace Centerville are still open for service.
It was reported yesterday that roughly 50 patients were potentially exposed to COVID-19 across three wards, including the male and female surgical wards, none of which were accepting new admissions. Patients may have been exposed by a healthcare provider working on one of the wards.
Neither PMH or PHA officials would directly address the reported ward exposures. PHA Managing Director Katherine Weech was tight-lipped, informing only that a press release would be issued.
That release indicated only emergency surgeries will be conducted; all elective surgeries have been suspended with the exception of oncology, vascular and Ceaserean section procedures. Patients will only be allowed to enter through the Critical Care block entrance.
Even PMH staff will only be allowed to enter the hospital via the main entrance at the critical care block. They will only be allowed on property with proper hospital staff identification and personal protective equipment.
Bahamas Nurses Union President Amancha Williams is reported to have said that up to 50 nurses could have been exposed to COVID-19. Some of them are under quarantine. This does not mean these nurses are sick; but as a preventative measure, they will undergo a two-week quarantine period. For persons who live alone or have access to their own bedroom and bathroom, they have been allowed to quarantine at home. For those who live with other family members in the home and cannot self isolate, arrangements have been made for them at government-appointed quarantine facilities.
Maternity patients including Maternity-Day cases can enter PMH through the maternity entrance only. Dialysis patients will be the only people permitted to use the medical block entrance. Patients with appointments are asked to contact the patient appointment and scheduling unit at the hospital at 808-9972, or via email at: email@example.com .