NASSAU, BAHAMAS – A new amendment to the Emergency Powers (COVID-19) Order would allow student nurses currently undergoing practical training at a public health care facility to be deemed as a registered nurse, during the COVID-19 state of emergency.
The order, released earlier today, stimulate that those students must also have completed the relevant curriculum of study set out in Part 1 of the First Schedule to Nurses and Midwives Regulations.
The qualifying students will be employed by the Ministry of Health under a contract of service during the state of the public emergency or until such other time as contracted between the parties, according to the order.
It further notes that those student will be registered with the National Insurance Board and will be entitled to the employment benefits.
Since the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in The Bahamas, healthcare workers have been considered the most vulnerable, given that they are on the frontline on the fight against the spread of the virus.
Health officials continue expanded COVID-19 testing on health care workers following the recent exposure of more than 200 frontline care givers.
Last week, seventy-five percent of the more than 200 healthcare workers tested for the virus have returned negative result.
The majority of those workers completed a 14-day quarantine and were expected to be assessed.
Their potential exposure stemmed from eight confirmed cases in the Medical Surgical Ward II at Princess Margaret Hospital, with one case linked to the Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre.
According to health officials, a patient was transferred from Sandilands to PMH for medical treatment on April 5.
The patient was discharged on April 15.
A few days later however, the ward at PMH was declared compromised and closed to new admissions.
The initial Sandilands patient returned to PMH for testing and tested positive for the virus.
It remains unclear how many healthcare workers currently remain in quarantine or have tested positive for the virus to date.
Officials have not had a press conference since it was revealed that former Health Minister Dr. Duane “breached protocol” by allowing a family of six disembark a plane with 2500 test swabs, amidst the country’s border closures.
Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis now serves as the temporary health minister.