BHB update in response to COVID-19 surge

Tuesday 30 March 2021: BHB today provides a further update as it responds to the large surge in COVID-19 cases. Actions undertaken are to limit potential transmission within the BHB environment and protect vulnerable residents and patients, and also to be prepared should hospitalisations rise.

Chief of Staff Dr Wesley Miller comments: “Our initial response has been to reduce footfall and minimise transmission throughout the hospital to protect the most vulnerable people in our care. We are balancing this with the need to maintain medical and psychiatric services. This is why visitation has generally ceased, and outpatients services where possible are moving to remote consultations.

“We are also aware that hospitalisation numbers for people with COVID-19 tend to lag behind the rise in infections by about two weeks, so some of our preparations are ensuring we could manage a surge of people with COVID-19 needing hospital care. We hope that the impressive roll out of vaccines, especially in our older and more vulnerable groups, will protect us from more serious cases, but we still must be ready to care for our community come what may. Thankfully, from our experience last year, we now can triple our critical care capacity and increase acute care beds, and we now have double the oxygen supply we had during the first wave.”

Update on Service Changes:

  • Outpatient and urgent/emergency surgeries will continue, but routine elective surgeries (also called same day admissions as these patients need a hospital bed after surgery) will cease, unless they are becoming urgent. This move is to ensure BHB has enough bed space should hospitalisation numbers due to COVID-19 rise.
  • Imaging Services Department has rescheduled non-urgent outpatient service to focus on emergencies and inpatient needs.
  • The Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Centre x-ray service will cease for two weeks, but the urgent care clinic service with a doctor and nurse will open usual hours (noon to 8pm weekdays and 9am to 9pm weekends).
  • Outpatient clinics (for example, appointments with specialist physicians and psychiatrists) will convert to teleconsultations where possible. In-person consultations will be provided if needed.
  • Outpatient services that require an in-person appointment may be rescheduled if not urgent. Patients will be contacted directly if they need to be rescheduled, and staff will focus on inpatient and emergency/urgent needs.
  • Lab services will continue as usual, by appointment only.
  • Dialysis appointments will continue as usual.
  • Chemotherapy appointments will continue, although some oncology consultations may be managed remotely.
  • There is no visitation for patients in acute care and long term care units across BHB. Moms may have one designated support person in Maternity, but all other visitation is by exception only. Exceptions include end of life and young children.

Accessing Emergency Medical and Psychiatric Care During the COVID-19 Surge:

If you have tested positive for COVID-19, are on quarantine or are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, you should check the COVID-19 symptom checker at bermudahospitals.bm or gov.bm when first assessing your need for care. Call your GP if you need advice on managing symptoms. If hospital care is needed, you should call the Emergency Department (ED) and not turn up before speaking to a member of the ED, who can advise you how to access the hospital safely. Do not go to the Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Centre (UCC). No companions are allowed at either the ED or UCC, unless a parent with a child, or a companion to a vulnerable or combative adult.

Anyone experiencing a mental health crisis, including thoughts about suicide, can call the 24/7 Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute (MWI) crisis line at 239-1111. Help is there around the clock. While the weekday walk-in service is temporarily suspended, anyone calling the crisis line will be assessed and advised on accessing MWI safely for an in-person consult if necessary.

Reminder on Requirements for Accessing BHB Facilities

Anyone who does have to access BHB facilities are reminded to use the screens for a temperature and mask check on entry and then go to the reception desk. At all times, wear your mask, maintain physical distancing, and wash your hands regularly and well.

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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.