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Trelawny field hospital to be handed over this week

BY ANTHONY LEWIS
Observer writer
editorial@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

LUCEA, Hanover — The contractor currently constructing the $36-million COVID-19 field hospital in Falmouth, Trelawny, is expected to hand over the facility by the end of the week to the Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA) which caters to the parishes of Hanover, Westmoreland, St James and Trelawny.

However, regional director for the WRHA Errol Greene told the Jamaica Observer yesterday that it won't be before a week-and-a-half before the 36-bed facility will be able to admit patients.

“The contactor is expected to hand it over to us by this weekend. So, after it is officially handed over to us, then we will have to start cleaning it first and then bring in the equipment and supplies and then we will be ready to take patients,” said Greene.

The news comes at a time when the COVID-19 ward that was designed to host 25 patients at the Cornwall Regional Hospital in St James is reportedly at capacity, and the COVID-19 ward at Noel Holmes Hospital in Hanover, which was designed to host 12 patients, is approximately 95 per cent of capacity.

Just last week, clinical coordinator for Cornwall Regional Hospital Dr Delroy Fray disclosed that efforts were being made to expedite the completion of the field hospital, so as to assist in accommodating patients from the Type A facility which is filled beyond capacity.

Senior medical officer at the Noel Holmes Hospital in Hanover Dr Patrice Monthrope told the media yesterday afternoon that the situation at the Type C facility is of concern, saying that although the hospital has been making preparations for approximately a year, it is currently under pressure.

“I am concerned, but we had a year of this. We have managed to prepare. It's not only preparing for the physical but also mentally and that is a pressure but we have been preparing our stuff for as well,” stated Dr Monthrope.

“If we get an emergency we have to deal with the emergency. It's what we have to do. The staff has been doing that and doing it well,” stated Dr Monthrope, who added: “I'll probably be more concerned that persons need to know that we are going to be having some challenges. So, like I said, adhere to the guidelines. There may be situations where if you are very sick and you come here and we are at capacity, we may not be able to offer assistance. So, these are some of the challenges. There are things that are going to be put on hold, but we are going to do our best to make sure we meet the clinical needs of our patients despite what is happening with COVID.”

Dr Monthrope stressed that the public can expect delays, and as such they should listen to news bulletins and information being disseminated about what is happening

“If we are at capacity, you need to come if you have to come here but if you have to go somewhere else you might have to do that. Be aware of the situation so just take care, don't be careless,” encouraged Dr Monthrope.

The senior medical officer noted that the hospital has moved into its next phase of preparation by making space in other areas while at the same time utilising a cooperation in the region for moving around patients.

The parish of Hanover, up to yesterday, had 548 confirmed cases, Westmoreland with 945, St James with 2,287, and Trelawny with 715. The island currently has a total of 21,679 confirmed cases, of which 8,083 are active and the number of deaths stood at 399.