ANOTHER SURGE: ‘Grim situation’ for fatigued healthcare providers

ANOTHER SURGE: ‘Grim situation’ for fatigued healthcare providers

Bed capacity pegged at 100, Hospitalizations hit 100 on Saturday

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Health officials described the current over capacity at the Princess Margaret Hospital and the fatigue being felt by healthcare workers as a “grim situation” amidst another surge of COVID-19 cases.

On Saturday, health officials confirmed 62 new cases of COVID-19, taking the number of cases in the country to 14,119, with 1,455 still active.

There are currently 100 hospitalized cases, 90 of which are moderately and 10 in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

During a Ministry of Health press conference on Friday, Chief Medical Officer Dr Pearl McMillian advised that the country is in an upward trend, with a 49 percent increase in new cases over the previous week.

“We are currently in another surge,” McMillian said. 

“The unfortunate thing is there is now COVID fatigue by all.

“Health care worker fatigue and some even speak of compassionate fatigue in our new reality. There is a lot of fatigue.

“This is unfortunate because we still have a way to go.”

The CMO noted that the increase in hospitalizations shows a “disturbing trend” with a 100 percent increase in hospitalized cases since the end of June.

“This is disturbing,” she continued.

“As you would recall our COVID bed capacity was pegged at 100.

“We are at capacity; not to mention human resources challenges such as nursing shortages across the health sector — public and private —superimposed on what we are dealing with.”

PMH Administrator Mary Walker said on Friday that the surge in cases has placed a “serious burden on the health system” and in particular the hospital.

She noted that hospitalizations numbers grew by 50 on Friday alone, indicating that it was a “burden” to find additional space for some 10 people who could not be accommodated in the Special Pathogens Unit or Legacy Unit.

“Persons are presenting at PMH with severe forms of the disease and they do require hospitalization,” Walker said.

“And on the other hand, healthcare providers are getting very exhausted at this point in time

“They are encouraging one another but this is a grim situation for us as the healthcare providers. So, if we say one thing to the public, recognize that the public health measures will keep you safe.”

Walker noted that officials are currently working with engineers to install the necessary negative pressure on an existing ward or in another outdoor tent.

She advised that there are three options being considered to expand bed capacity.

Both McMillian and Walker urged Bahamians to get vaccinated in order to slow the spread of the virus.

The CMO noted that almost 100 percent of people requiring hospitalizations for COVID-19 have not been fully vaccinated. 

She indicated that those individuals who have been vaccinated are less likely to have a severe illness, hospitalization, and death. 

About Sloan Smith

Sloan Smith is a senior digital reporter at Eyewitness News, covering a diverse range of beats, from politics and crime to environment and human interest. In 2018, Sloan received a nomination for the “Leslie Higgs Feature Writer of The Year Award” from The Bahamas Press Club for her work with Eyewitness News.


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