Fifty-nurses out of healthcare system in quarantine
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — With some 50 nurses in quarantine due to potential exposure, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis yesterday called on all available medical professionals to help the government in the fight against COVID-19.
The United Nations has designated the pandemic as the greatest global crisis since World War II.
“On the frontline of our citizen army fighting COVID-19 are doctors, nurses, medical technologists, hospital and clinic workers and others,” Minnis said during a press conference on Wednesday.
“Let me be very clear and to the point; so far more than 50 healthcare workers have had to be taken out of the system because of exposure to the virus.
“On behalf of all of us, I thank every health care worker throughout our country.
“I know firsthand what they are going through.
“I understand the stress and the anxiety.
“But, I want them to know that we will win this battle and that we are getting them every resource possible to win this fight.”
Speaking to Eyewitness News, Bahamas Nurses Union (BNU) President Amancha Williams said nurses in Grand Bahama and New Providence were in quarantine after interacting with COVID-19 patients where there could be potential exposure.
“We are sad to say the nurses are being exposed, but we must guard them and to ensure that we carry out [protocols],” said Williams.
“…These nurses were wearing protective gear, and we want to safeguard everybody around them.”
Williams implored patients who have symptoms of COVID-19 to call the hotline ahead, and wear a facemask upon arrival at a healthcare facility.
She said these measures and other protocols aids in the protection of nurses, doctors and other medical professionals on the frontlines.
Asked if there was a need to bring on additional nurses from abroad, Williams said: “We are not at that point right now.”
There have been 21 cases of COVID-19 in The Bahamas, including one death.
Eight of those patients were hospitalized and in stable condition, according to officials.
One of the hospitalized patients is a 72-year-old healthcare worker.
Williams said the number of patients requiring hospitalization in the days and weeks to come will determine the need.
“If we only have a few then we are not in crisis yet, but if we have 100 [in hospital], we would really need the help,” she said.
“But we are not at that point.
“So far, we have to commend the public.
“They are doing a good job and they are being obedient and that’s what we want them to do; and to listen to what is happening as this is serious.”
She applauded the work of healthcare workers and others on the frontline.
Yesterday, the prime minister also said he was extremely proud and grateful to his medical colleagues, working around the clock under tremendous pressure.
He noted two of his children, who are doctors, are working on the frontline.
He assured he will do everything in his power to protect the health and lives of health care professionals and workers, declaring that every “healthcare hero” fighting COVID-19 and protecting the public are a “part of the flesh and blood of our community”.
Additionally, the prime minister also called on volunteers to step forward to free up some healthcare professionals for other duties.
He said: “We are asking for volunteers to help the country in this hour of need.
He announced a volunteer hotline will be established for registration.
Pointing out that the healthcare system has to balance COVID-19 care with regular care for the public, Minnis ordered all private medical and dental practices to eliminate all routine and non-emergency physical encounters with patients.
He said these services should be provided “as best as possible” virtually or remotely, excluding private renal dialysis facilities; and where physical interaction is a necessity to a medical emergency, there must be social distancing.
Additionally, Minnis said the modular unit at Princess Margaret Hospital, which has positive to negative air flow, will be able to accommodate an additional four patients within its purposed built controlled environment.
He also announced the South Beach Clinic was being modified in the same way to accommodate 10 patients.