COVID-19 pandemic telephone support line for children

Tuesday 31 March: 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

BHB restricts visitation to protect patients, staff and supplies

Sunday 15 March 2020: Bermuda Hospitals Board today announces the introduction of visitor restrictions to all BHB facilities, KEMH, MWI and group homes, in an effort to safeguard patients against potential COVID-19 infections in the community, and preserve personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, gloves and gowns for frontline staff at a time of global shortage.

Judy Richardson, Chief of Nursing, comments: “We do not take this step lightly, as we recognize the power of family in visiting people when they are unwell, or vulnerable. But we also have to acknowledge that a COVID-19 infection can be much more serious and deadly for seniors and people with existing medical conditions – and these are the people we care for.”

The restrictions across all facilities are effective immediately and are as follows:

  • For general acute care patients, long term care and residential units, only immediate family/carers will be allowed to visit.
  • For patients on isolation (wherever they are), only one visitor will be allowed, once per day.

BHB offers free wi-fi for patients and visitors, so strongly recommends that anyone in hospital brings or is given a smart phone or mobile device by their loved ones with video messaging apps, such as WhatsApp, Skype, etc.

Dr Michael Richmond, Chief of Staff, explains: “We apologise to people who want to visit their loved ones, but hope they understand we must put our patients and staff first.  Many people do not get seriously ill from COVID-19 or have no symptoms at all, so we anticipate someone could inadvertently visit their loved one and infect them. Additionally, we need to preserve personal protective equipment in the face of global shortages. We are preparing in case COVID-19 is an issue for many months, or longer. Our expectation is that we may have to close visiting at some point if COVID-19 spreads locally, but this balance gives patients and residents some access to the love and support of their families, while reducing the risks of exposure and preserving personal protective equipment.”

People are reminded not to visit their loved ones if they feel unwell with fever, dry cough, trouble breathing or any other symptoms. They should also not visit if they have returned from overseas, or been in contact with someone with the above symptoms, in the last 14 days.

15 March 2020 Home Page, News

BHB suspends non-emergency surgery to prepare for COVID-19 threat

Sunday 15 March 2020: Bermuda Hospitals Board today announces the suspension of non-urgent, elective surgery as it prepares for a potential increased number of critically ill patients with COVID-19. This will allow for surgical and operating theatre staff to be upskilled and trained in the basics of critical care management as rapidly as possible.

Emergency and urgent, including cancer, surgeries will continue.

Dr Richmond, Chief of Staff, comments: “We do not take this step lightly and apologise to elective surgery patients who will no doubt feel frustration, anxiety and upset.  We are, however, facing an unprecedented situation. As an island we do not have access to a bank of staff to just bring in to work, so we are looking to maximise the resources we have to care for the most critically ill who may come to us.

“We do not have confirmed COVID-19 cases yet in Bermuda, but we have to prepare in case they do come and in case the situation escalates quickly, as has happened elsewhere. We cannot wait to start the training. At the moment it is unknown when the worst will be over, so unfortunately I can’t provide a date when surgeries will resume. We will constantly monitor the situation, however, and re-start as soon as it is safe to do so.”

Dr Richmond, concludes: “I would add that all the preventative measures individuals can take will help the hospital and entire health system cope and save lives. We can slow down the spread by washing hands; not touching our faces; coughing and sneezing into tissues; wearing masks if we are sick; and avoiding groups, meetings, shaking hands and hugs. This will give us the opportunity to manage the demand on healthcare more effectively. If we do not act as individuals and a community, we may experience a sudden peak and the healthcare system could struggle.”

15 March 2020 Home Page, News

BHB road traffic accident statistics for January-February 2020

Thursday 11 March 2020: Bermuda Hospitals Board road traffic accident statistics for the period 1 January – 29 February 2020, shows the following:

  • 87 cases were seen in the Emergency Department (including the Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Centre)  due to road traffic accidents
  • 9 people required admission to an acute ward
  • 2 minors were admitted to an acute ward
  • 2 of the cases seen in Emergency were tourists

You can download a pdf of the statistics by clicking the links below.

2020 Bermuda Hospitals Board Road Traffic Accident Statistics 1 January – 31 January

2020 Bermuda Hospitals Board Road Traffic Accident Statistics 1 January -29 February

12 March 2020 Home Page, News

Traffic disruptions at KEMH campus on Monday and Tuesday

Friday 6 March 2020: Bermuda Hospitals Board advises the public that there will be no through traffic between Point Finger Road and Berry Hill Road on the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital (KEMH) campus from 6am to 11am on Monday 9 and Tuesday 10 March 2020.

A crane and flatbed will be stationed outside the old emergency to facilitate removal of an old and installation of a new air-handling unit.

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.

All KEMH parking lots will be accessible – the Acute Care Wing and Agape House from Point Finger Road and the General Wing from Berry Hill Road.

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

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

6 March 2020 Home Page, News

Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Centre Maintains 6-10pm Weekday Hours In March

Tuesday 3 March 2020: Bermuda Hospitals Board today confirms that the Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Centre (UCC) will continue to operate on weekdays from 6pm to 10pm, with no x-ray service until further notice. Weekend hours will remain as normal, from mid-day to mid-night, with a full service including x-ray. The weekday hours were implemented in December as part of BHB’s ‘Winter Plan’, to help reduce wait times in Emergency and improve access to inpatient beds over a very busy time of year.

Keeping to these weekday hours at the UCC allows BHB to focus resources on the KEMH Emergency Department, where high numbers of unwell people are still coming with seasonal respiratory illnesses and flu.

Dr Chikezie Dean Okereke, Chief of Emergency, comments: “We are grateful for the understanding of the community, especially in the East End, while we focus on caring for the increasing numbers of unwell people in the Emergency Department. On top of usual winter infectious respiratory diseases such as flu, we are also preparing in the event of a covid-19 outbreak in Bermuda. This will further pressure resources and we need to make sure we can care for people who have more serious symptoms. It is why we cannot stress enough for people to call their doctor or the Emergency Department if they believe they have been exposed to covid-19 or are experiencing fever or dry cough. This way you can be assessed and advised quickly, and you also protect other people in the waiting rooms and healthcare facilities – both patients and staff.”

Dr Okereke adds: “This was the first year BHB proactively devised and followed a winter plan to help us manage the yearly winter pressures and care for those most in need during this period. Comparing 16 December to 23 February this year to the same period last year, there was a very small 0.2% reduction in, or 11 fewer, individual visits to the Emergency Department (5,936 this year compared to 5,925 last year). However, there were 52 more admissions (896 compared to 844), or a rise of 6.2%, indicating more seriously ill patients. By having more resources in Emergency, booking time to discharge decreased on average by 49 minutes, or 14.7% (333 minutes to 284 minutes), with the wait for admissions to an inpatient bed dropping by 25.2% from 1,070 minutes to 800 minutes. The improved and more timely service resulted in more people being cared for and better patient flow, as 108 fewer people left before they were seen or treated, a drop of 64.4% (68 compared to 176 the previous year).”

People who are concerned about exposure to covid-19, or believe they have an infectious respiratory illness, should not turn up at a healthcare facility, but first call from home to their doctor’s office, the Emergency Department at 239-1301 or 239-1474 or during opening hours at the Lamb Foggo UCC 298-7700. They will be assessed over the phone and advised on next steps.

3 March 2020 Home Page, News