Click here to print page

VIDEO: Falmouth field hospital to start admitting COVID patients tomorrow

BY HORACE HINES
Observer staff reporter
hinesh@jamaicaobserver.com

Saturday, March 06, 2021

FALMOUTH, Trelawny — Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton has disclosed that seven patients will be admitted to the newly constructed $36-million COVID-19 field hospital in this town tomorrow.

“I am told that by this weekend... Sunday, we should see patients being placed in this ward. There are at least six or seven that are ready to be put into the ward,” Tufton said, following a tour of the field hospital yesterday.

He noted that medical personnel have already been recruited to man the hospital.

“We have also started the process of hiring, and have already hired, I am told, some doctors, nurses. Some rearranging has to be done, also. The hiring continues, but permission has been given and so far we are making progress,” the health and wellness minister stated.

“So we have the building, we have the equipment, thanks to support from PAHO (Pan American Health Organization), all new equipment, nothing here [has been] used; and we have the personnel, and when you combine all of that together what you have is a ward that is ready to be utilised,” he said.

Noting that COVID wards in the Western Regional Health Authority are bursting at the seams, Dr Tufton welcomed the increased capacity.

“It's a very timely delivery of this asset, because what it means is that we now have 36 additional beds to add to this western region. Already the hospitals here are at capacity, with Cornwall Regional over 130 per cent with COVID bed occupation,” Dr Tufton said.

Ground was broken for the construction of the field hospital on September 25, 2020 and it was slated for completion two months later.

However, consistent rainfall delayed the completion.

“There was a lot of rain for about a month, almost every other day, and this is a low-lying area. There was flooding and it was very difficult to manoeuvre. And so we made provisions for that, and I think it was reasonable. If we didn't have that rain we would have met the timelines,” he explained.

The 36-bed field hospital is one of four being set up across the island to provide 152 additional bed spaces for people with COVID-19.

A second 36-bed facility will be at Mandeville Regional Hospital in Manchester, while the other two field hospitals are at National Chest Hospital and St Joseph's Hospital in the Corporate Area.

Dr Tufton also thanked Errol Greene, regional director, and his team at the Western Regional Health Authority, the engineers, project managers, the staff, including the senior medical officer, chief nurse, parish manager “and all the others who have done what was necessary to ensure that we delivered this facility in time”.