by Linda Straker
- Most residents at 3 institutions have tested positive
- Decision for residents to not become vaccinated was either received through a next of kin or from residents themselves
- All residents and staff at Government-run homes are vaccinated
Approximately one-third of the current Covid-19 related deaths in Grenada are unvaccinated elderly who have died at 3 nursing homes/institutions owned and managed by an arm of the Catholic Church.
As of 14 September, Grenada recorded 37 Covid-19 related deaths within the age range of 18 and 97. All occurred within the past 3 weeks. Only 1 individual who was fully vaccinated died, and that person was 97 and known to be diagnosed with other ailments.
“The decision for the residents to not become vaccinated was either received through a next of kin or from the residents themselves, who insisted that they did not wish to become vaccinated, while for the staff it was up to the management to enforce the request from the Ministry of Health,” said Health Minister Nickolas Steele.
“We said for homes, all employees should be vaccinated but we could not have enforced that, so we were not able, within the powers that we have legally, we could not enforce, we could have only begged and pleaded,” said Steele.
“The 10 have paid a price and this was not necessary because we all saw what happened in other homes in other parts of the world… The homes are private and it’s for the employer to implement,” he said, confirming that all residents and staff at Government-run homes are vaccinated and though there are positive cases among the residents, there are no deaths as of 14 September 2021.
“Dr Charles and myself take this personally because we reached out personally to the homes. I personally spent time with some of the managers of these private homes begging and pleading for them to get the staff, themselves, and most definitely their residents, who are some of the most vulnerable in our society vaccinated, so that it will give them a fighting chance,” Steele disclosed during the weekly post-cabinet briefing.
“What happened there at the Homes is just regrettable,” said Dr Shawn Charles.
According to a statement from the Catholic Church Communications Department, the Hilarion Home in the northern parish of St Patrick had a total of 10 deaths but 8 are classified as Covid-19 related. The Hillsview Home in the western parish of St John had 2 deaths while the St Martin’s Home in the southeastern parish has had no Covid-19 related deaths as of 14 September.
The 3 institutions have a maximum capacity of no more than 80 residents and the statement confirmed that not only are there deaths from the virus, but most of the residents have tested positive.
Signed by Bishop Clyde Harvey, the statement said that most of the residents in the Hilarion Home are positive. “Of the remaining 21 residents, 16 are confirmed positive for the virus. Six of the residents have been fully vaccinated. The complement of 16 staff has been reduced to 6 at the moment with 10 in isolation at home. Eight of the regular staff have tested positive,” the statement disclosed.
The positivity rate in the Hillview Home among residents and staff is also high with 8 residents confirmed as positive active cases with only 2 vaccinated. “6 of the 25 residents have been fully vaccinated. Of a staff of 26, ten are fully vaccinated with another 3 having had one dose. Of the 7 positive cases, 5 are fully vaccinated,” said the statement. In St Martin’s Home, there are currently 7 positive cases. “Of the total population of 27 residents, only 5 have not been vaccinated.”
The statement made an appeal to anyone who is a registered nurse, caregiver, or retired health professional to render assistance to the staff in this crisis.