Seventy-five people have died with or from COVID-19
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The morgue at Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) is over four times its capacity, according to Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) Managing Director Catherine Weech.
During a virtual press conference Monday, Weech said PMH has a capacity for 55 bodies, but there were “four times that amount”.
This means there were at least 220 bodies stored in the morgue at last report.
Additionally, she said Grand Bahama Health Services had a capacity for 25, but the number of dead at the facility scaled up between two and three times that figure.
“Those bodies were accommodated in the external coolers of the hospital,” Weech added.
The PHA managing director was responding to questions from the media after Minister of Health Renward Wells underscored the challenge, namely, families delaying the collection of their deceased loved ones.
As of yesterday, there were 76 people who either died with or from COVID-19.
“… Some persons are using the morgue at PMH as a storage facility for their deceased loved ones,” the minister said.
“We understand that death and losing a loved one is an emotional and sensitive time.
“However, the morgue at Princess Margaret Hospital continues to be stretched to capacity as a result of the delayed collection of loved ones who have passed.
“Given the necessary restrictions due to COVID-19 that had to be put in place as it pertains to funerals, some members of the public are opting to wait until restrictions have been lessened to collect the bodies of their loved ones.
Wells encouraged residents with deceased loved ones who remain at PMH’s morgue to collect their bodies.
He also urged local mortuary companies to collect the bodies that families have already paid them to transport to their funeral homes.
Wells said: “The failure of these companies to comply will have to, unfortunately, result in the existing legal storage fees being applied.”
In the latest emergency orders, funeral and burials have been allowed with guidelines for islands in the first schedule.
However, for islands in the second schedule, including New Providence, funerals “may be held provided that the funeral service is conducted at the graveside and is limited to 10 persons, exclusive [of] the officiant and mortuary workers”.
Of the 65 COVID-19-related deaths up to September 11, there were 45 deaths in New Providence, 14 in Grand Bahama, two in Bimini, one in Eleuthera, one in the Berry Islands, one in Abaco and one in Long Island.
Eleven of those deaths were recorded in the first wave, which spanned from mid-March to the end of June.
Total infections as of Monday stood at 3,008.