Health officials are now looking at converting a third ward at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital, the nation’s premier healthcare facility, into a COVID-19 ward.
Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Simone Keizer-Beache said, on Wednesday, that her team was monitoring the nation’s COVID-19 figures “with great concern”.
“We have already fully occupied our Argyle Isolation Facility, then we had to move into the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital, take over the Female Medical Ward, take over the Pediatric Ward,” she said on VC3’s round table talk.
“And we are now looking at moving to a third ward at the MCMH because we are seeing more and more cases coming in, needing more care and that’s a significant blow to our capacity to offer other types of care. So we’re really concerned about that,” Keizer-Beache said.
Amidst a spike in infections, St. Vincent and the Grenadines has registered 1,574 and 21 deaths since Sept. 9. There are 1,400 active cases in the country.
As of Thursday, there were 23 patients admitted for COVID-19 at the Argyle Isolation Facility. Of these, 21 are unvaccinated and two fully vaccinated.
Meanwhile, 21 patients are admitted to the COVID-19 wards at the MCMH. Of these patients, 19 are unvaccinated, and two are partially vaccinated.
Since March 2020, the country has recorded 3,965 cases of COVID-19, of which 2,532 have recovered.
Speaking on Wednesday, the chief medical officer said:
“I am looking at the figures daily, looking at the amount of testing, the contact tracing that’s going on and I’m not seeing, at this point, any saying that we are flattening the curve.”
Regarding the speed at which some patients have died after testing positive for COVID-19, Keizer-Beache said:
“Unfortunately, we are dealing with the Delta variant. The Delta variant is very aggressive. So that persons become ill in the morning, and then they suddenly, rapidly deteriorate.
“… So somebody who was fine in the morning, speaking normally, suddenly, by the evening, can’t breath and by the time they get to hospital, they are extremely ill. And that’s what we are seeing that some of these people come in with very low oxygen saturations — … that’s the amount of oxygen that’s circulating in the blood — they come in very ill, and they deteriorate very quickly.”
She urged “that even if you have a little runny nose, you have a little cough, you go, you get checked to make sure this is what it is.
“And even while you are at home, especially persons with pre-existing conditions, if you notice at any point that you are vomiting or you have diarrhea, that’s not settling, and you’re feeling suddenly much worse, we ask that you seek urgent care.
“But the nature of COVID, the nature of COVID is that it is — and this is something that’s been reported repeatedly that persons can go from stable to completely unstable, and die in a very short space of time.”