Health Minister Provides Update on Medical Surgical Ward II at PMH

Min. of Health The Hon. Dr. Duane Sands

Minister of Health the Hon. Dr. Duane Sands provided an update regarding the Medical Surgical Ward II at Princess Margaret Hospital, which was declared compromised on discovery of a confirmed positive COVID-19 case on the ward. “Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre referred a patient from the Robert Smith Unit to PMH for further medical management on the April 5th, 2020,” Dr. Sands explained during a COVID-19 Update press conference at the Ministry of Health, Thursday, April 23, 2020. “This patient received treatment at PMH and was discharged on April 15th, 2020, to Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre.  Days later, the Medical Surgical Ward II of PMH was declared compromised on discovery of a confirmed positive COVID-19 case on the ward.” 

Consequently, he stated that the ward was closed to new admissions on April 18th, 2020.  The Health Minister said the patient of the Robert Smith Unit was returned to PMH on April 19th, 2020 to be tested for COVID-19.  “On April 20th, 2020, it was confirmed that the Robert Smith Unit patient had contracted COVID-19. This patient is now receiving care at the Doctor’s Hospital West facility.  “The remaining 39 patients at the Robert Smith Unit at Sandilands were immediately placed in an isolation cohort and the unit was sanitized.” 

He further noted that 46 staff members at Sandilands were identified for risk exposure assessment. “In total more than 200 health care workers are in quarantine. However,we believe that upon completion of our risk assessment the number is expected to decrease significantly.” Dr. Sands explained that one staff member, two patients and two registered nurses were quarantined for 14 days. “Subsequently, all remaining patients on the Medical Surgical Ward II were tested for COVID-19.  “Contact tracing and exposure assessments commenced for the people discharged from the ward, and those who were in contact with current patients on the ward.” He said currently, four patients remain on the ward. Three of the four remain in isolation and one remains on the open ward. 

Dr. Sands stated that as long as patients remain on the ward, routine sanitation standards are being followed and high cleaning is scheduled as soon as all patients are discharged. “As a precaution, and in order to take proactive steps to protect their health, all persons will be monitored closely, tested for COVID-19, and if required they will be admitted to one of our COVID centres for care. “We are committed to providing all necessary support and treatment through every step of this process.” He also noted that as part of updated prevention measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, visiting hours at all public and private wards at PMH have been suspended.

The Health Minister said patient updates will be made to the identified and/or nearest relative and/or guardian by the assigned physician via telephone. Further, he said meals and beverages delivered for patients will not be accepted during this restricted period. “If a patient requires a personal item, the hospital will contact the identified and/or nearest relative regarding the request. “In this case, the delivery must be pre-arranged with Ward management.” Dr. Sands added, “Efforts are being made to provide videoconferencing for our patients on the Children’s Ward so they can interact daily with a parent or guardian.”

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