May Pen Hospital outfitted with thermometry, disinfection machine

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May Pen Hospital outfitted with thermometry, disinfection machine

Friday, February 19, 2021

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PEOPLE entering the May Pen Hospital in Clarendon will now have to be scanned by a newly installed thermometry and disinfection machine before they can step inside the facility.

The machine, designed as a COVID-19 weapon, is valued at $850,000 and was donated by telecommunications engineering company Konnex Services Limited.

The system pre-empts the need for actual security personnel at the door, as in keeping with COVID-19 protocols, it records temperature, dispenses sanitiser and can detect whether or not a person is wearing a mask.

Chief executive officer of May Pen Hospital St Andrade Sinclair told the Jamaica Observer, at Monday's commissioning of the machine that the machine will amplify the hospital's efforts to fight COVID-19 free of cost for the next six months.

“It's a sanitisation machine so of course it will get rid of most of the virus and the bacteria and all the foreign bodies that are not supposed to enter the hospital and can cause harm to patients and even visitors and staff. It's a machine that will sanitise your entire body, 360 degrees from head to toe, and will rid you of most of those viruses and bacteria, and hopefully, we can have a more conducive area,” Sinclair said.

The high-tech machine also captures individuals' facial information which may be used for later tracking.

Sinclair revealed that the hospital's COVID-19 numbers have doubled since it recorded its first cases in April of last year, rendering the machine indispensable.

“Jamaica, like everyone else, is facing the same challenges. Our hospital in May Pen, same thing. We have an upsurge with COVID patients. Positive patients are coming in and we're seeing it in some unprecedented numbers. We are seeing the numbers doubling now. It is causing challenges for the hospital, but my team and I here are trying our best and getting through the storm,” said Sinclair.

Over the course of the last two weeks, the health ministry has reported a drastic increase in the number of positive COVID-19 cases islandwide, with 1,935 recorded in one week. On Monday, Jamaica recorded 468 new cases, the highest single-day count increasing the tally to more than 20,000.

To the west of Clarendon, there is also a COVID crisis in Manchester, with cases seeping into the Mandeville Regional Hospital. Thirty-four employees tested positive for the virus last Wednesday, putting pressure on the isolation ward. Further, the Government has embarked on a mission to supply hospitals with more beds as the number of patients increase daily.

Technical development manager for Konnex Services Limited Stephan Smith told the Observer that May Pen Hospital is the first medical institution to benefit from the machine.

“...We do have other entities such as the JCF [Jamaica Constabulary Force] and Television Jamaica, but May Pen Hospital is the first public facility that has one of these machines right now,” he said.

“We have partnered with the hospital to see how we can integrate technology in the fight against COVID. We came up with the idea of using a machine that will remove the human element. It takes the temperature, sanitises your hand, and while you're passing through the machine, it bubbles you in a mixed solution that contains the alcohol and the other stuff that we use to fight against COVID,” said Smith.

“If your temperature is normal, it will give you an alert to pass through the machine. If not, it will give you an alert that says abnormal temperature. Once you have the go-ahead to go through the machine, it will sanitise your feet, and you spin two turns, about 10 to 15 seconds and then you pass through. Nice, simple and easy,” said Smith.

In a test run, hospital staff tried passing through the system with a kettle of boiled water, to which there was a blaring alarm signalling “abnormal” temperature.

Sinclair lauded Konnex Services Limited for their response.

“Here we have Konnex, a good, corporate angel donor. As I've always said to the corporate world, Jamaica proper. A hospital can only be successful if the community [gets] together behind it with corporate bodies and good corporate citizens coming forward to assist the hospital.

“Konnex has donated sanitisation 360 degrees equipment for the May Pen Hospital to have demonstrated here today. It will be used at the hospital for the next six months at no cost. Can you believe that? And they will provide all the servicing. At the end of that six months, we will determine if we can embrace and form some sort of marriage,” said Sinclair.


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