16 abandoned people holding up space for COVID patients at CRH

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16 abandoned people holding up space for COVID patients at CRH

BY HORACE HINES
Observer staff reporter
hinesh@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, February 19, 2021

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — Clinical coordinator at Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH) in St James Dr Delroy Fray says 16 people abandoned by relatives are taking up space on the ward designated for the overflow of COVID-19 patients at the facility.

“...[These] patients don't need to be in hospital. We need to get them out, and that's a bigger issue. In fact, we are creating 16 more spaces, and yet we have patients in hospital who don't need to be here. That's one of the issues now we have to be tightening up on because, as the pandemic continues, as you have seen from the numbers, we have to be addressing these issues,” Dr Fray said.

“We create a space [for social patients] down at Falmouth, adjacent to the hospital, we create an infirmary-type setting and that is also full as well. So we have to be juggling with it to deal with the cases; it's a big task and you can just imagine what it requires in order to monitor all of this situation right here at this point in time,” said Dr Fray.

Last week, following a tour of the field hospital at Falmouth in Trelawny, Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton stated that individuals who abandon their relatives in public hospitals could soon be prosecuted.

“We are pursuing the legal option. We want to test the law in court. I can't tell you how it will turn out, but at least it will ventilate the issue,” said Tufton.

“A lawyer has been engaged. The cases are being looked at now, and I anticipate that some filing of some kind will take place, where we say to persons who are responsible for their significant other, the place to lodge them if they can't take care of themselves is not in a hospital,” the health minister stated.

Speaking yesterday during a virtual COVID-19 forum, themed 'Observing the Protocols', facilitated by the St James Health Department and the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dr Fray argued that some 16 additional bed spaces had to be created at the CRH to facilitate COVID-19 cases on the seventh and ninth floors.

“So we have expanded that facility to look at another probably 16 spaces. The truth is numbers are increasing, so admission rates are increasing. We have a ward dedicated to just COVID patients, [as] we were very proactive when this infection started. It has a capacity of 25, and we are housing 29 here now. And, as you know, we have a high-dependency unit that can house four, which is like an ICU [intensive care unit],” Dr Fray said.

He further revealed that the increased numbers have pushed the tally of cases at the Type A facility to 58.

Dr Fray is hoping that the 36 beds expected to come on stream upon the completion of the field hospital on the grounds of Falmouth Hospital, to be added to the 25 at CRH, will adequately facilitate the admission of COVID-19 patients.

“Now with the increased numbers I am very careful to check the numbers before I comment publicly...and we are somewhere at 58 now. So what we do every morning, we sit down and we look at what we have and plan for the future,” Dr Fray stated.

Speaking ahead of Dr Fray, acting medical officer of health for St James Dr Tanique Bailey-Small said the number of positive cases had increased significantly, with nearly 400 active cases now in the parish.

“We have had so far 2,168 cases; that would be the cumulative number, but so far we only have, from that number, 378 cases that are presently active. Again in terms of that number in comparison to the Corporate Area we have the third-highest numbers, second only to Manchester,” stated Dr Bailey-Small.

And questioned about the report of a shortage of oxygen at CRH, Dr Fray said he could not confirm or deny the claim.

“I am not going to refute that. Probably there might have been a gap, but I know that the administration is very aggressive in monitoring the situation, and it wasn't brought to my attention, so I don't think it is a serious problem. But, now that it is raised, I am right here in admin, I will double-check that as well, but I can ensure that we are very aggressive on how we look at our resources and see the supply and look at the influx and to monitor from there,” he said.


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