This screenshot from a viral video shows patients at Princess Margaret Hospital near the entrance of the Critical Care Block.
NASSAU, The Bahamas--In the early morning hours of Saturday, July 24, roughly eight people, some with blankets over their faces, were crowded on the porch of the Critical Care Block as a rain squall battered the area.
The group, some of whom were stretched out on hospital beds, was transferred to the northern porch area to escape the rain, the Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) said.
After a video and photos depicting the scene started circulating on social media on Sunday, the PHA issued a statement.
It was a raw look into the emergency taking place at Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) as the number of new coronavirus COVID-19 cases, hospitalisations and deaths soar.
PHA said, “The area identified in photos and video is the triage site for the Accident and Emergency Department. All patients arriving for care at the emergency department are screened for COVID-19 as part of the hospital’s prevention measures. During the rainstorm early Saturday morning, patients in the triage area were relocated from the west porch area to the north porch area for temporary shelter from the weather. Subsequently, those patients were relocated to the General Practice Clinic area in the Ambulatory Block.”
It said patients under investigation for COVID-19 are held in the exterior porch areas and COVID-19-positive patients are admitted and transferred to either the Special Pathogens Unit, the Legacy Unit or Doctors Hospital West.
“For several weeks now, the hospital has maintained that it has reached its capacity for COVID-19-positive admissions, this as it continues to see a daily intake of COVID-19 cases. As recently as Friday, July 23, Hospital Administrator Mary Lightbourne-Walker in a Ministry of Health press conference advised that there were 50 COVID-19-positive patients admitted, some 11 of whom were awaiting transfer from the emergency department for in-patient care. Hospital officials are in talks with international partners to expand the hospital’s Special Pathogen Unit for the care of COVID-19 patients,” it said.
Amid the rising cases, hospital officials said last week that healthcare workers are burnt out and that the hospital is at a breaking point.
“The same persons have been working this entire wave, [since – Ed.] it came to this country,” Lightbourne-Walker said last week.
“I am talking about the healthcare workers of this country, be they at Princess Margaret Hospital, the Rand on Grand Bahama, Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre, or anywhere in the public health system, particularly the South Beach Health Centre and our partner Doctors Hospital West. We are all facing the same challenge. We are tired. We are exhausted. The healthcare professionals, I think some of them are actually roasted or toasted or whatever you will call it.”
Between Thursday, July 22, and Saturday, July 24, the country recorded 272 new COVID-19 cases and three deaths.
On Thursday, 110 cases were reported, 100 were reported on Friday, and 62 on Saturday bringing the total number of cases confirmed in The Bahamas to 14,119 – 1,455 of which are still active.
Of the new cases, 217 were on New Providence, 16 on Grand Bahama, 18 on Eleuthera, 12 on Abaco, five on Bimini and four on Exuma.
Officials said a 53-year-old woman from New Providence died from COVID-19 on Thursday. On Friday, a 66-year-old man and a 44-year-old man, both from New Providence, died from COVID-19.
The deaths bring the toll to 282 in The Bahamas. Another 66 people have been recorded as having died with COVID-19, but not because of it, while 23 deaths are still under investigation.
As of Saturday, 100 people were hospitalised with COVID-19, 10 of whom were in intensive care.
The test positivity rate on Friday was 42 per cent, more than eight times the World Health Organization’s recommendation of less than five per cent. It went down to 16.7 per cent on Saturday. ~ The Nassau Guardian ~