Bermuda Hospitals Board (BHB) executives notified hospital workers today that due to the recent spike in COVID-19 patients, King Edward VII Memorial Hospital is now on Disaster Alert Level 3, the second highest alert level.

The message sent to BHB colleagues, said: “We have decided the sustained rise in hospitalisations warrants a move up to Disaster Alert Level 3, so we can focus all resources on the emerging number of hospitalised patients.

This alert level indicates that we believe there is an immediate and present risk to BHB services, due to the number of people having to be admitted for COVID-19.

The medical tent outside of Emergency is set up to help with patient flow and separate out the Covid-19 suspected and confirmed patients from the other patients.”

Staff were also urged to be prepared for Disaster Alert Level 4 – the highest category.

In the interim, business travel for staff at this point in time will not be allowed. Any new vacation requests will “be carefully reviewed and only approved if it does not impact the department’s ability to respond to a rising number of COVID-19 cases”.

“If there is transmission between staff, the risk is not just to ourselves but to our families and patients, and to BHB services if we cannot maintain staffing levels.

“The days and weeks ahead will be challenging and we cannot hide from that, but you are not alone.

“Remember to reach out if you need help, or if the pressures in your team needs attention.

“The ability to respond rests on our collective response, and we will get through this by working together and supporting each other.”

Staff with questions were directed to their managers or the Employee Relations Manager or the hospital’s executives.

The note was signed by Mike, Scott, Wesley, Judy, Bill and Preston.