M.O.H Remains Concerned about the Number of Frontline Healthcare Workers Who Have Contracted COVID-19

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Dr. Merceline Dahl-Regis, COVID-19 Task Force Coordinator and Special Adviser to the Prime Minister said the Min. of Health remains concerned about the number of frontline healthcare workers who have contracted COVID-19. “Exposures to COVID-19 have been experienced at a number of healthcare locations, including Princess Margaret Hospital and Doctors Hospital. Notwithstanding known social exposures,” Dr. Dahl-Regis stated during the COVID-19 Update Press Conference held at the Ministry of Health, Thursday, May 7, 2020.

She explained that to date, The Bahamas has 22 healthcare workers who have contracted COVID-19. Of the 22, there are:
 five physicians;
 one physiotherapist;
 two trained clinical nurses;
 one domestic staff;
 seven registered nurses; and
 six patient-care assistants and technicians.

Dr. Dahl-Regis said these professionals account for 23.9 per cent of total cases in The Bahamas. “Regionally, The Bahamas ranks high for the percentage of total COVID-19 infections occurring in healthcare workers. “Consequently, plans are in process to closely investigate the reasons why so many healthcare workers have been affected by COVID-19 in the country.” She stated, “This investigation would support the identification of the most appropriate infection prevention and control measures to be strengthened to better protect healthcare workers.” The COVID-19 Task Force Coordinator added that investigation would identify vulnerabilities and characteristics of exposure risk factors.

She noted that a case-controlled study will also categorize risk and the
effectiveness of infection prevention and control measures currently in place. “This information will also inform the international scientific community recommendations on prevention and management of COVID-19 infections in healthcare workers.” Dr. Dahl-Regis also noted that the Ministry of Health is concerned about the number of healthcare workers who provide additional services outside of the major health facilities.

“Since the 21 st of April when the Emergency Powers Orders related to the provision of home care services were signed to give effect to improved medical, therapeutic or other patient care in homes and residential care facilities, more than 130 home care providers have contacted and submitted documents to the Office of the Chief Medical Officer.” She said all persons provided details on their training, qualification and practice. A number of them have completed infection control protocol training provided by the Min. of Health in partnership with the Early Access Training Centre prior to providing any further care. Letters authorizing these persons to continue providing home care services are issued by the Ministry of Health.

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