However, facility houses ‘persons under investigation’ of COVID, not positive cases
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Health officials yesterday sought to clarify that while the National Response Facility at SuperClubs Breezes has transferred cases of COVID-19 from the facility, it is not being used to house infected patients.
The revelation comes after conflicting reports over the use of the resort facility, as the government continues to manage the increase of COVID-19 cases in the ongoing second wave.
Pressed again for clarification on the matter during the Ministry of Health’s press conference yesterday, Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) Chief of Staff Dr. Caroline Burnett-Garraway indicated the initial use of the facility was to manage PUIs (persons under investigation) for COVID-19.
“At the time that came on stream, the hospital was overwhelmed, the whole healthcare system [was overwhelmed] with PUI,” Burnett-Garraway said.
“So we had 18 beds placed there, along with the adequate staff.
“From mild to moderate PUIs [were] to be managed there, with the understanding that if we got back a positive test those persons would immediately, or once the facility was available, to be moved from Breezes back to Doctor’s Hospital West, Princess Margaret Hospital or to the South Beach Clinic.”
She said now that testing capacity has increased and the labs have become more efficient, results of persons under investigation are being processed faster.
“As you know there’s a surge, so we have a lot more positive cases,” Burnett-Garraway continued.
“[But] positive cases were not kept at the Breezes hotel.
“However, we did have persons that when we found out they were positive they were moved as soon as we could get them out of there.”
Last week, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis labeled reports that the resort was being used to house suspected COVID-19 patients as “fake news” and “misinformation”.
“Breezes hotel, which has been offered, [is] assisting the Ministry of Health in establishing itself as a hospital facility for strictly non-COVID patients,” Minnis said.
“All patients at Breezes are non-COVID. So, the fake news and misinformation out there that Breezes has COVID patients, thus impacting its future, is fake news. It’s all non-COVID patients.”
During a national address on August 9, the prime minister said Breezes will be used to meet “the needs of non-COVID-19 low medical care patients during the pandemic”.
However, on two separate occasions — at Ministry of Health press conferences on August 14 and on August 28 — Health Minister Renward Wells indicated to the public that the 62-bed facility in the east end of Breezes would be used to expand the bed capacity to care for COVID-19 patients.
In Parliament last week, Wells said the response facility at the Breezes was for medical and surgical non-COVID minimal risk patients, to ensure the hospital beds remain available for the critically ill.
At the time, the prime minister reiterated the statement, saying “Breezes hotel, which has been offered, [is] assisting the Ministry of Health in establishing itself as a hospital facility for strictly non-COVID patients”.
Wells has insisted there was no miscommunication between him and the prime minister.
A previous version of this article incorrectly attributed quotes to PHA Managing Director Catherine Weech. It has been edited to reflect the comments of Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) Chief of Staff Dr. Caroline Burnett-Garraway.