Hanover, Westmoreland hospitals buckling under COVID pressureThursday, August 05, 2021
BY ANTHONY LEWIS
LUCEA, Hanover — With COVID-19 wards crammed beyond capacity, the Noel Holmes Hospital in Hanover and the Savanna-la-Mar Public Hospital in Westmoreland are buckling under pressure from the current spike in cases.
According to senior medical officer of health for the Noel Holmes Hospital Dr Patrice Monthrope, the COVID-19 ward can accommodate 11 individuals. However, between 15 and 16 are currently being admitted. As has been the case with previous spikes, people with mild symptoms are cared for at home if their living conditions allow. Others for whom this would pose a challenge are sent to a Government-run quarantine facility in St James.
Dr Monthrope expressed concern that, if things worsen, the hospital's ability to provide effective care could be threatened. “If we don't try to control it, we are going to be losing our other services,” he warned.
He was critical of those who have failed to follow safety protocols and is urging greater take-up of the vaccine. “If all the measures were adhered to before, it would help; but it is pretty bad right now. I mean [COVID] is everywhere,” she said. “At this point in time, [for] persons who have vaccine hesitancy, now might be a good time to rethink and get your vaccine. We are not sure if the Delta variant, which is much more infectious, is here. So all those older persons, if they are not vaccinated, need to consider getting vaccinated.”
Like Hanover, Westmoreland has factored significantly in the climbing number of infections in recent weeks. Up to Tuesday, there were 14 extra patients in the Savanna-la-Mar Hospital's 18-bed COVID-19 ward. Other sections of the medical facility are being used to absorb the overflow.
“The key messages are, [one], follow the protocols. Persons of all ages, especially our younger ones, [should] follow the protocols [as] more and more younger persons in Westmoreland are needing hospital space,” appealed the parish's medical officer of health Dr Marcia Graham.
“Two, we are asking that persons with chronic diseases try as much as possible to manage them and to keep them under control so that they don't need to be hospitalised,” she added. She explained that they have seen an increase in people being admitted for non-COVID cases and that has been putting a strain on the hospital. Social cases taking up well-needed bed space are also a concern. “Twenty-three of them are here [and] we need the families to take them home so that we have those beds available to take care of persons who need medical care,” said Dr Graham.
Both the Noel Holmes and the Savanna-la-Mar hospitals fall under the Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA), which is keeping a watchful eye on the COVID-19 numbers.
“In recent times the numbers have been going down but over the last couple of weeks, if you notice since the curfew [measures were relaxed in June], things have started to trickle back up. So we... are watching our numbers,” said St Andrade Sinclair, regional director for the WRHA.
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