Preparations are now complete at the General Hospital for expansion of the facility’s capacity to accommodate more Covid-19 patients.
A 9-bed isolation unit was initially set up at the start of the pandemic last year to add to the isolation rooms retrofitted in private block. This capacity had proven to be more than adequate for several months, given that very few persons were hospitalised.
However, since the country’s transition to community spread a few weeks ago, the number of hospitalisations has increased dramatically, requiring health administrators to expand capacity for the treatment of persons who have contracted the virus and require medical intervention.
Director of Hospital Services Dr Carol McIntosh has confirmed that the General Hospital can now accommodate up to 55 persons in isolation.
The increased capacity was achieved through the conversion of the newly constructed Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and retrofitting of the paediatric ward which was safely moved to, and replaced the Female Surgical Ward.
The retrofitting work included the installation of oxygen lines and placement of ventilators. Surveillance cameras and internet connections have also been installed. Although the beds have been set up, health officials continue to hope that they are either not needed or required only for short periods.
Dr McIntosh has expressed sincere gratitude to the entire team of persons, including construction workers, maintenance and biomed staff, who worked tirelessly to facilitate the urgent retrofitting work. She said, “A collective effort was required to getting this done and everyone pitched in to help, working long hours where necessary to ensure completion of the retrofitting work. We are now at the point where the beds are in place, the oxygen piping is functional, the ventilators are up and running. I am immensely grateful to all who contributed to this effort, thank you. I also take this opportunity to recognise our healthcare team who continue to selflessly care for patients.”
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