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KEMH creates more isolation rooms

Monday 13 April 2020: Bermuda Hospitals Board (BHB) today announces the addition of nine more negative pressure rooms at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital (KEMH). Four additional rooms in the Emergency Department, two operating rooms, two rooms on the Post Anesthesia Care Unit and one additional room on the Dialysis Unit have been converted to negative pressure/isolation rooms.

These nine rooms are in addition to the 28 converted on the Ace Barber Unit, announced last week. (The 28 conversions brought the total negative pressure rooms on the unit to 30, i.e. every room on the unit.)

Creating negative pressure within a room results in the air being confined to that room. This greatly reduces the ability of infection to spread.

The Acute Care Wing opened in 2014 with two negative pressure rooms on each of the three wards and 15 in the Emergency Department. Patients who present or develop infectious conditions in the hospital are routinely housed in isolation rooms.

Black & McDonald, facility manager of the Acute Care Wing (ACW), were able to increase the number of negative pressure rooms through the ACW’s automated building management system.

“We are doing everything we can to help BHB prepare for this pandemic,” said the Black & McDonald Facility Manger for the Acute Care Wing, Warren Moulaison. “Our team of engineers, just like everyone at BHB, is committed to doing our best to serve our Bermuda community.”

“Increasing the number of isolation rooms in the Emergency Department will help us better stem the spread of COVID-19 within the hospital,” said BHB Chief of Emergency and Hyperbarics Chikezie Dean Okereke, MD.

“We are pleased with the progress of our pandemic plan,” said BHB CEO and President Venetta Symonds. “I thank the dedication of staff across our organisation, from the Facilities Departments who expand our negative pressure room capabilities, to our frontline clinical staff, dietary and environmental services staff, our partners in security services and our administrative staff – all of us are working to care for and keep our patients  and employees safe.”

13 April 2020 Home Page, News

Ace Barber Unit converted for pandemic

Wednesday 8 April 2020: Bermuda Hospitals Board (BHB) today announces that all 30 rooms of the Ace Barber Unit in the Acute Care Wing have been converted to negative pressure rooms. This upgrade dramatically decreases the possibility of infection spreading on the ward.

Creating a negative pressure within a room results in the air being confined to that room. The Acute Care Wing opened with two negative pressure rooms on each of its three units and two in the Emergency Department.

These rooms have always been used for patients with infectious conditions – patients who require isolation. They are commonly referred to as isolation rooms.

Black & McDonald, facilities managers of the Acute Care Wing, were able to increase the number of negative pressure rooms through the automated building management system.

“Staff and patient safety is our first priority, having negative pressure rooms enhances our ability to do this,” said BHB Chief of Staff Michael Richmond.  “This is one of several projects we have underway as we prepare for a possible surge in COVID-19 patients.”



8 April 2020 Home Page, News

UCC temporarily closed due to COVID-19 pandemic

Saturday 4 April 2020: Following the announcement that Bermuda has entered a state of emergency, BHB is suspending services at the Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Centre from Saturday 4 April 2020. This is being done in order to focus much needed resources on the KEMH Emergency Department.

Dr Chikezie Dean Okereke, Chief of Emergency, comments: “We have seen in other countries the strain that Emergency Departments have experienced due to an influx of COVID-19 patients, and the strain is compounded because staff themselves can also become sick or need to be quarantined, reducing overall resources. We have looked at how best to keep our emergency services open and running for Bermuda at this time of great challenge and anxiety for the community. We believe that we now need all of our available staff in the Emergency Department. We apologise for any inconvenience and remind people that they can travel during the 14 days of sheltering at home for emergency care.”

Dr Okereke adds: “If people start experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or are worried they have been exposed, they do not need to panic. For many people this is a mild enough disease they can manage at home, with plenty of fluids and Tylenol, if needed. Please be aware of the risks of age and existing medical issues, or if symptoms get worse, call your doctor, the COVID-19 Hotline at 444-2498, or the Emergency Department Telephone Triage at 239-2009. There is a COVID-19 symptom checklist assessment that can be found on both the BHB and Government websites to help you determine your course of action, but don’t just turn up if you think you need care. Always call first.”

4 April 2020 Home Page, News

MWI Services and Mental Wellness During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Friday 3 April 2020: The statement below was given at the Premier’s Press Conference on Friday 3 April by BHB Clinical Psychologist Dr Cherita Rayner.

In an effort to continue to provide appropriate mental health services and limit client presence on the MWI campus, services are being offered in modified ways:

Adult Mental Health

  • MWI is providing individual appointments through telemedicine which may include telephone communication or conducting home visits as appropriate.
  • MWI will be providing clients’ medications via home visits or medisets to limit the need to come to the MWI campus.
    • Teams are going into the community every day; teams are split into an East Team, Central Team and a West Team
    • Medication is also being delivered to clients who call the Acute Community Mental Health Services
  • In a mental health emergency, please contact the crisis line at 239-1111 and you will be given direction.
  • If clients have other concerns please contact Acute Mental Health Services – 249-3432 this is the Clinic Triage Nurse with extended hours of 8am-8pm during the COVID season.
  • The After Hours Resource line is 249-3258.
  • MWI clients who are in the emergency shelter will also have the benefit of staff administering their medications as needed
  • Trained nursing staff, community support workers, and addiction counsellors are being rotated to the shelter to ensure continuity of services and to provide support

Child & Adolescent Service

  • Clients receiving child or adolescent outpatient services are receiving telehealth via numerous platforms.
    • A community support line has been established for children and parents. CAS Community hotline – 249-3370
    • If you have an emergency, please call the CAS main line Mondays to Friday, 9am-5pm. The CAS main line is 239-6344
    • Please call the MWI crisis line after 5pm at 239-1111
    • There remains a team on site to address any emergencies

Turning Point

  • Counsellors remain in regular contact with clients via telephone.
  • Our on-call counsellor remains available for our clients’ needs after hours.
  • New referrals for intake are being triaged via telephone interviews. Please call 239-2038 if an intake appointment is needed.
  • Client medication needs have been addressed

Managing  Your Mental Wellness

  • During times of national emergency, people can experience various levels of mental health concern.
    • General stress, increased anxiety, increased depression, which can lead to increased substance use.
  • As we are now facing the need to shelter at home to protect tour community, we need to be more aware of our emotional response.
  • There are simple steps that we can all take to emotional wellness during this time.
    • Maintain positive social connections with family and friends. Telephone, Skype, Whats App, video and Zoom are excellent ways to feel connected.
    • Try to avoid situations that cause added stress.
    • Structure your day. Change out of your PJ’s; set up a dedicated work space; maintain a “knock off time” if working from home.
    • Remind yourself that this period of isolation is temporary.
    • Stay connected to accurate and reliable information to assist in reducing anxiety.
    • Take breaks from the news and social media.
    • If sheltering with family plan fun activities; create a roster to complete household chores; try to have time to yourselves.
  • Monitor your emotional health and reach out for support as needed
3 April 2020 Home Page, News

BHB and partners make COVID-19 self-assessment tool available to all

Wednesday 1 April 2020: Bermuda Hospitals Board (BHB) Emergency Department, in partnership with the Ministry of Health, the Chief Medical Officer and the island’s primary care providers, has created an easy-to-follow one-page self-assessment guide for members of the community who are concerned they may be infected with COVID-19.

The COVID-19 Patient Symptom Check List and Self-Assessment assigns a score from 1-3 to each COVID-19 symptom. Mild symptoms have low scores while severe symptoms carry a score of 3. Persons tally their scores to determine if they need to call their physician.

“We developed the COVID-19 self-assessment as tool to better manage the needs of our community,” said Chikezie Dean Okereke, MD, BHB Chief Emergency and Hyperbaric Services.

“Providing the public with a guide that eliminates the guesswork on what to do and when to take action, can be instrumental in saving lives and keeping the public informed.”

The checklist is available for download below and from the Resource Material section on the Government website

COVID-19 Patient Symptom Self-Assessment – Updated 07 May 2020

A YouTube video explaining the Covid-19 Patient Symptom Checklist Self-Assessment is also available below.



1 April 2020 Home Page, News

COVID-19 pandemic telephone support line for children

Tuesday 31 March 2020: Bermuda Hospitals Board’s Child & Adolescent Services (CAS) team is offering telephone support for families with children who are worried or fearful about the COVID-19 pandemic.

CAS offers mental health services for children up to 18 years old. Usually delivering services from the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute (MWI), the CAS team offering telephone support for any children who may feel heightened fears or worries due to the pandemic. Parents of the children themselves can call 249-3370 between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Jayne Isaacs, Manager of Child & Adolescent Services, comments: “This special COVID-19 pandemic telephone support service is for parents and children who may be struggling with fears and worries about illness, being isolated or about coping with all the changes. During these challenging times, we are here to support families with children who need help. Being stuck at home with schools closed, public transport suspended and without normal supports from family and friends, can be incredibly challenging for families. We are not used to these restrictions and families who need help with the stress and anxiety caused by our situation, can call to speak to our mental health experts.”

31 March 2020 Home Page, News

Road closure and traffic interruptions on Tuesday 24 March at KEMH

Sunday 22 March 2020: Bermuda Hospitals Board advises the public of a temporary road closure scheduled for Tuesday 24 March 2020 on the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital (KEMH) campus. The closure will affect both vehicular and pedestrian through traffic from approximately 6pm until midnight.

To facilitate the replacement of beds in the KEMH General Wing, a container will travel to the KEMH site, interrupting the flow of traffic along Point Finger Road from approximately 5:30pm to 6pm on Tuesday.

The container will be positioned on the KEMH through road between the ambulance bays and the General Wing lobby from 6pm, necessitating the closure of that section of the KEMH road until approximately midnight.

During this period, emergency vehicles and people attending the Emergency Department should use the Point Finger Road entrance. Ambulances will enter and exit on Point Finger Road.

KEMH and the visitor parking lots will remain accessible from both Point Finger Road (Acute Care Wing) and Berry Hill Road (General Wing and Agape House). Traffic will not be able to travel between the General Wing lobby roundabout and Point Finger Road.

For your safety and the safety of others, please use caution and adhere to the barriers, signage and directions of the security officers.

Bermuda Hospitals Board apologises to the public for any inconvenience caused by the disruption.

22 March 2020 Home Page, News

Only essential visiting now allowed at BHB

Friday 20 March 2020: Bermuda Hospitals Board today announces that it will be further restricting visitors to its facilities, following the confirmation of two COVID-19 cases in the community. People are being advised not to visit patients or residents, other than in exceptional circumstances, such as newborns (the mother’s partner, or one close relative of friend if there is no partner), unwell children (parents only), or people near the end of life.

Additionally, outpatient activity is being critically reviewed, with the aim of only seeing people in person by exception. All other patients will either have appointments postponed if they are stable, or offered a remote consultation (for example, by phone). People with outpatient appointments will be each contacted directly. Elective hyperbaric treatments sometimes used for wound care, have been suspended, and BHB is reviewing closing down even to emergency treatments. These are mostly diving accidents, but the oxygen from the hyperbaric chamber will be needed if multiple people with COVID-19 need ventilator and/or oxygen support in the hospital.

As previously announced, diagnostic and lab tests are now by appointment only (no walk ins), and the focus is now on urgent tests, rather than routine activity. The Emergency Department is also asking people to come alone if possible, or just one companion if essential. This is to reduce the number of people in the waiting room and help Emergency patients, who are more likely to be in an at risk group, to maintain a physical distance from each other while they wait. Parents who are seeking treatment for themselves are advised not to bring their children with them.

Michael Richmond, Chief of Staff, comments: “BHB is finding ways to reduce opportunities for the virus to spread by temporarily reducing the foot traffic in its hospitals, and minimising numbers of people in waiting rooms together. This supports physical distancing that, along with hand washing and not touching your eyes, nose or mouth, are key ways people can protect themselves and their families from COVID-19. Government has taken decisive action to minimise the potential spread of COVID-19 and BHB is in complete support. The community must adhere to these restrictions, abide by quarantine and isolation rules, or else the healthcare system could be overwhelmed as has happened in countries such as Italy. BHB is doing everything in its power to prepare for increased demand, but we have limits. If we as a community do not control the spread of COVID-19, the numbers of critically ill patients could rise precipitously and the ability for the healthcare system to support those who are most critically ill will be put at risk.”

20 March 2020 Home Page, News

BHB Public Advisory: Donating blood and COVID-19

Wednesday 18 March 2020: The Bermuda Blood Donor Centre is accepting blood donations and encourages members of the public, who can, to donate.

Some restrictions have been added due to the COVID-19 outbreak.  Persons should not donate if, in the 28 days before they donate, they have:

  • Travelled to an area with an outbreak of COVID-19
  • Lived with an individual(s) diagnosed with or suspected of being infected with COVID-19

Anyone with a confirmed case of COVID-19 is not allowed to donate until 56 days after they have made a full recovery from the illness.

Donating blood in Bermuda continues to be safe. Our robust cleaning and infection-control practices protect all donors, staff and volunteers. We carefully screen all prospective donors for any symptoms of illness, including very mild ones. This is done during both appointment booking and on arrival at the donor centre. Those with any symptoms are not allowed to donate blood.

Our screening measures are evolving in line with public health recommendations and the changing dynamics of the COVID-19 outbreak. If you want to donate and have recently traveled outside of Bermuda please call 236 5067 to determine your eligibility and book an appointment.

We encourage the public to share the flyer below.

It’s safe to donate- flyer Mar 2020

18 March 2020 Home Page, News

COVID-19 protections for KEMH diagnostic services

Wednesday 18 March 2020: Bermuda Hospitals Board is today moving to an appointment-only system for routine Imaging Services and Lab tests. This doesn’t affect diagnostics for patients referred through KEMH or MWI inpatient or Emergency care.

“People will no longer be able to walk in for appointments in Lab and Imaging Services, and will need to call to make an appointment,” explains Anthony Fitzgerald, Vice President, Clinical Operations (KEMH).  “This is a precautionary measure so we can do a quick telephone triage before they come in. It will also reduce the number of individuals waiting together and the volume of foot traffic through the hospital.  This encourages the physical distancing that is needed to minimise the transmission of COVID-19. While there are no COVID-19 cases confirmed in Bermuda at this time, this process change will help protect staff and patients in the hospital at a time we are on heightened alert.”

To make an appointment, please call 239-2032 for Laboratory appointments (blood and urine tests), 239-1144 for Imaging Services X-ray, CT, MRI; 239-1223 for Ultrasound, Mammography and Nuclear Medicine; and 239-1416 for the Cardiac Diagnostic Unit. For appointments made days or weeks in advance, patients are asked to call before turning up if they have any symptoms such as fever, dry cough or difficulty breathing.

“These diagnostic services need to continue to support the health needs of Bermuda,” says Mr Fitzgerald. “By moving to appointments only, we can have a level of protection in place.”

17 March 2020 Home Page, News