Some nurses asked to double up as colleagues report sickThursday, August 26, 2021
BY KASEY WILLIAMS
MANDEVILLE, Manchester — With scores of nurses calling in sick yesterday, those who reported to work had to be redeployed and even work beyond their shifts as the country continues to grapple with a surge in COVID-19 cases.
Of the 468 nurses scheduled for two shifts yesterday only 292 reported for work in the southern region.
Regional technical director at the Southern Regional Health Authority (SRHA), Michael Bent, told the Jamaica Observer yesterday that nurses who reported would be asked to work longer hours.
“What it means is that some of the nurses would have been at work from this morning. We will have to ask some of them to double up and in some cases triple [shifts],” he said.
SRHA is responsible for health services in Manchester, Clarendon, and St Elizabeth.
Bent said health-care workers are stretched as he appealed to the public to follow COVID-19 protocols.
“We really hope that the number [of cases] starts getting lower [so that] we don't have a situation where our oxygen system is not adequate. We are really appealing to people to follow the protocols because our staff... they are stretched, our infrastructure is stretched,” said Bent.
He gave a breakdown of the number of nurses who reported to work on the 7:00 am and 2:00 pm shifts: Mandeville Regional Hospital 105 of 215; Percy Junior Hospital 38 of 59; May Pen Hospital 47 of 86; Black River Hospital 70 of 75; and Lionel Town Hospital 32 of 33.
Bent said activities at vaccination sites across the region were not impacted by yesterday's sick-out.
Meanwhile, approximately 13,000 people, including children — 12 and older — were vaccinated between Saturday and Tuesday.
“Just [Tuesday] alone we did 5,600 in the region, so for the four days, Saturday to Tuesday, for the region we would have done approximately 13,000. The first two days we would have done over 2,000 [on] each day. Monday went over 3,000, and [Tuesday] was excellent,” said Bent.
“We are really encouraged by the number of people who turned up, particularly the number of students who turned up to get their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. The good thing is that parents and teachers turned up as well and took the vaccine,” he added.
However, the region continues to struggle with the surge in COVID-19 cases and people requiring hospitalisation.
“Mandeville Hospital having the most cases, [as] up to [Tuesday] we had about 80 [COVID-19]-positive patients and some 20 suspected [cases]. All our facilities are at capacity, so we have to be finding and creating spaces to house these patients,” said Bent.
He said there is sufficient oxygen to meet the demand at the facilities, with staff monitoring the capacity daily.