Bahamas News

Bahamas: Rand Memorial Hospital taking precautions ahead of potentially severe weather weekend

Sharon Williams, Rand Memorial Hospital Administrator

#FREEPORT, Grand Bahama, The Bahamas – May 13, 2020 – With possible severe weather expected to affect the Central and Northwest Bahamas this weekend, officials of the Grand Bahama Rand Memorial Hospital are taking extra precautions ahead of the system to secure patients in Samaritan’s Purse tents.

Ms. Sharon Williams, Administrator of the Rand, said the hospital is concerned about the report from the Bahamas Met Office about bad weather expected to pass through or near Grand Bahama during the weekend.

“Since April 26, our last encounter with severe weather conditions, where our tents hospital at Samaritan was severely impacted by the weather conditions, we have been working very closely with the local Met office in monitoring local weather conditions,” said Ms. Williams.

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“We have been advised that from Wednesday through late Saturday that there will be the possibility of heavy rain and wind that could impact the Grand Bahama area. That, no doubt, brings concern again for our tents at Samaritan’s Purse and in addition, our modular isolation facilities near our Emergency Room which we have set up for Covid-19 response.”

The Bahamas Department of Meteorology issued a statement on Tuesday (May 12) of a frontal boundary over the southeast Bahamas that will back up over the Central Bahamas on Wednesday and stall through Thursday.

During that time conditions are expected to become favorable for the development of an area of low pressure along the frontal boundary by Friday afternoon in the vicinity of Cat Island.

As a result, “pockets of squally showers, heavy thunderstorms, strong, gusty winds and the potential for water spouts and tornadic activity can be expected over portions of the Northwest and Central Bahamas from Wednesday through Saturday,” according to the Meteorology Department.

The Hospital Administrator said that they have proactively advised their managers to meet with Administration to devise plans for the movement of patients and clients in those areas that could be adversely impacted by bad weather. She said that those plans have already been put in place.

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“We are looking at our new facilities at the Cancer Association to be able to house some persons if necessary,” said Ms. Williams. “Also, our Emergency Room facilities is also a consideration, if it isn’t too crowded – we will have to see what patient load we will have there at the time. Of course, our facility at the Freeport Community Clinic, at our IAT building is also under consideration for use if necessary.

“Between those three locations, we will house our patients temporarily until the weather returns to normal.”

In terms of preparing for the upcoming hurricane season, the Rand Memorial Hospital Administrator said that the close communication with the Met Office will continue and that all weather systems – inclusive of tropical storms and hurricanes – will be monitored by the hospital’s Administration extra closely and that even more proactive measures will be taken when necessary.

“We do this every year, but the only difference this year is that we do not have use of the full hospital,” Ms. Williams pointed out. “So, we are engaging the various health care facilities, as we usually do around the island, and discussing with them about moving our clients to those areas if it becomes necessary. Of course, we have to solidify those arrangements, before announcing their names to the media.

“But we are definitely looking into alternatives for housing our patients, inclusive of the Government working very aggressively to complete the renovations for the Rand in a timely manner. We might not be finished for the beginning of the hurricane season, but we hope to be finished very soon and we are praying that it is before any significantly severe weather patterns hit this area.”

The Bahamas Meteorology Department said that the low pressure will move northeast and away from The Bahamas late Saturday night, and partly sunny and drier conditions are expected to return on Sunday.

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