Bermuda Hospitals Board (BHB) officials moved the hospital’s status to the highest disaster level alert last night as the number of COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Bermuda, with even more admissions to the Intensive Care Units.

BHB President and CEO, Michael Richmond, said the upgrade to Disaster Level 4 pointed up “the high number of COVID-19 patients in hospital and in the ICU, the pressure on staff, and the impact of the pandemic on our staffing levels”.

All non-emergency services were cancelled, he added, as staffing levels continue to be “taxed”.

Quoted in today’s daily, Dr Richmond said: At this time we have more admitted and sicker patients with COVID-19 in hospital than we have experienced at any time during the whole pandemic.

We are redeploying all available staff to acute, critical care and emergency services.

Our employees are professional and dedicated individuals, but they are also human beings and the risk of burnout is increasingly evident.

People in the community may not realise the extent of the impact on healthcare services, but they need to be aware that the increasing demand on the hospital may start to impact our ability to deliver the quality of care that we usually strive for each day.”

At last check, the Department of Health said there were 13 COVID patients in ICU.

Dr Richmond added: “We are pleading with the community to follow all public health guidance, wear masks at all times inside and outside if within six feet of others.

“Avoid crowds and enclosed spaces. Get vaccinated, please. It is the best defence against serious disease and death.

“We also ask people to take medically fit for discharge family members home.”

Moving forward, he said: “With the hospital under tremendous pressure, we need the staffing and the space for the new admitted patients, both COVID and non-COVID related.”