Dear Partner in Health,

The Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre (SLBMC) continues our work to keep patients, families, and staff safe through promotion of prevention measures, including the use of available vaccines.

Today, however, we face a newly complex challenge. In addition to COVID-19, a host of respiratory viruses, including Influenza and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), have taken hold in many countries throughout the world.

These viruses, while often manageable, can cause serious outcomes, especially for children. They can also strain our healthcare system, particularly the hospital.

In response to this, SLBMC is reinstating the wearing of masks by all persons when visiting a patient (inclusive of the Emergency Room) at the hospital.

All other persons utilizing services at the hospital—this includes our Outpatient Clinic—are being strongly encouraged to wear a mask.

“We are taking a community-wide approach to keep our patients and visitors safe. Masks have been recommended since the start of the pandemic.

At this point of higher risk, we have to mandate the mask use once again as part of our precautions this holiday and tourist season to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses and protect young children, older individuals, and those with underlying health conditions”, said Dr. Acheabea Dyer SLBMC Administrative Head of Infectious Disease & Employee Health.

Here are some precautions you can take to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses:

1. Staying up to date on vaccines, including Flu and COVID-19.

2. Keep your hands clean by washing them often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

3. Not coughing or sneezing into your hands; sneeze or cough into your elbow.

4. Staying home when sick or symptomatic.

5. Wearing a well-fitting, high-quality mask when in public indoor spaces.

Thank you for everything that you are doing to keep you and those in your communities safe. Have a healthy and safe holiday season.