BHB restricts visitation in response to COVID-19 surge

Wednesday 24 March 2021: Bermuda Hospitals Board (BHB) today announces a return to increased restrictions for visitors of inpatients and long term care residents at KEMH and MWI in response to the surge in the prevalence of a highly infectious strain of COVID-19. Changes will come into effect on Thursday 25 March at noon.

Long term care residents and isolation patients on any ward will no longer receive visitors. Acute and critical care patients can have one designated person who can visit them during their stay. The designated person can visit once a day, for up to two hours between 12 noon and 6pm.

Gosling (children’s ward) will allow limited visits by parents only, and Maternity visiting will stay the same as before, with one designated support person able to attend the birth and visit once a day if the mother stays longer than 24 hours.

While there are no significant changes in the Emergency Department and Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Centre (UCC), people are reminded that people who need emergency care should come into the Emergency Department or UCC on their own. Due to the need for appropriate physical distancing, the waiting room cannot safely accommodate companions, relatives or carers as well as patients. As such, companions, relatives or carers can only be permitted in certain situations, such as one parent with their child (under 18), or a carer or relative with a vulnerable or combative patient. As an indoor space, the risks of transmission rises with the number of people in the waiting room and the time they are waiting.

Free wifi is available at BHB so patients and residents can stay in touch by phone or video. Anyone visiting or attending BHB facilities must first go through a temperature and mask check. They must use the available hand sanitisers, and wear a mask and maintain physical distancing at all times.

CEO & President Michael Richmond, MD, comments: “We are very concerned at the increasing number of infections by a variant of COVID-19 that is more infectious. This poses a grave threat to our vulnerable patients and residents, and our response is a first step based on current data. If prevalence continues to rise, we may be forced to stop all visiting and look at other restrictions. We will be monitoring the test results from Government closely each day, as well as our own numbers. We had nine people visit Emergency between last Friday and Monday who were COVID-19 positive. This is the direct consequence of the number of infections rising in the community. We hope, however, that people in Bermuda will continue to pull together, follow the public health guidance, and get vaccinated as this is our path back to some level of normalcy. We each have the power to stand against COVID-19, save lives and get the country through, and if the prevalence reduces again we will once more relax visitation.”

Visitation guidelines from Thursday 25 March by area:

• Acute care inpatient units and Intensive Care Unit (KEMH)
(Ace Barber, Ascendant Partner Re, Catlin Lindo, Curtis, Agape and ICU)
One designated support person identified by each patient may visit once a day for up to two hours between 12 noon and 6pm.

• Gosling Ward
Only parents can visit.

• Isolation patients on any ward (MWI and KEMH)
(Isolation patients either have a confirmed infectious disease, such as COVID-19, or are waiting for the results. All patients admitted are tested for COVID-19 and are on isolation until they receive a negative result)
No visitors, other than in truly exceptional circumstances (such as end of life). Individuals must be approved by the unit manager before visiting.

• Long term care residents (MWI and KEMH)
(KEMH: Cooper, Gordon and Perry Units; MWI: Devon Lodge, Reid Ward and all group homes)
No visitation allowed, other than in exceptional circumstances (such as end of life).

• Agape House
No visitors for long stay patients at Agape House. Patients in their last phase of dying will be allowed two visitors in the room at a time who will be required to wear full personal protective equipment.

• Maternity
One designated support person can attend the birth and up to eight hours afterwards. If mom stays on the ward longer than 24 hours, the support person can visit for up to four hours once a day.

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Notes to Editors
The Bermuda Hospitals Board is a quango (quasi autonomous non-governmental organisation) established under the Bermuda Hospitals Board Act, 1970. It has a Bermuda Government-approved Board and a Chief Executive Officer, responsible for King Edward VII Memorial Hospital and Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute. At the heart of both organisations is high-quality care to all patients.

With approximately 1,700 employees, the Bermuda Hospitals Board is Bermuda's second largest employer. King Edward VII Memorial Hospital and Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute are the only healthcare organisations in Bermuda accredited by Accreditation Canada, an independent organisation whose role is to help hospitals examine and improve the quality of care and service they provide to their clients. In addition to providing an extensive list of services for the community, the Bermuda Hospitals Board is part of a referral network that includes some of the world's leading specialist hospitals.

For more information, please visit www.bermudahospitals.bm or contact the Bermuda Hospitals Board Public Relations Department at publicrelations@bhb.bm.