According to executive staff at Bermuda Hospitals Board (BHB), today the hospital has been moved up to Disaster Alert Level 3, the second-highest alert level, due to the recent increase of positive Coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.
The main reason for moving up to Level 3, executives told hospital workers in a memo this afternoon, is so that the hospital can focus as much of its resources as possible on the emerging number of hospitalized patients.
Here is how BHB Services will be impacted by the hospital moving to Alert Level 3: family members and friends will no longer be permitted to visit long-term and acute care patients except in special circumstances (such as the end of a patient’s life) and all other areas of the hospital will have restricted visitors.
Elective surgeries remain suspended and outpatient appointments are permitted only in urgent or emergency situations and telemedicine appointments, whenever possible, are encouraged.
Overflow ICUs are open for critical care patients and additional acute care capacity is being opened, as well as a medical tent located outside of Emergency to help with flow of patients. The medical tent also separates suspected and confirmed COVID-19 patients from all others.
Here is how BHB staff will be affected by the hospital’s move to Alert Level 3: Wherever feasible, meetings should be held via Webex as opposed to in-person. If workers must meet in person, they must wear a mask and not exceed the maximum permitted room capacity.
Vacation and travel which has already been approved may be taken, but new requests for vacation must be carefully reviewed and will be approved only if it will not affect the department’s ability to properly respond to increasing COVID cases. However, business travel is prohibited.
Everyone within BHB facilities are reminded to properly wear face masks at all times and staff who interact with patients are also reminded to wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).
BHB staff who have not yet been vaccinated are encouraged to do so. The hospital’s walk-in vaccination clinic is now open from 4-7 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“ If there is transmission between staff, the risk is not just to ourselves but also to our families and patients, and to BHB Services if we cannot maintain staffing levels,” the memo read. “The days and weeks ahead will be challenging and we cannot hide from that, but you are not alone.”
In its closing, the memo reminded workers to please reach out to anyone if they or their team need help or special attention. The executive board assured employees that they will get through this hurdle only by how they did it a couple of months before: by working together and supporting one another.
Story by Stefano Ausenda
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