Health Ministry outlines backup plans for public health system

Couva Hospital and Multi-Training Facility.  -
Couva Hospital and Multi-Training Facility. -

AS the number of covid19 cases continues to rise, the Health Ministry has said it has backup plans in place to lower the chances of the public healthcare system being overwhelmed.

But for now, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh said Trinidad and Tobago is “in a pretty good place when it comes to hospital capacity.”

He was responding to questions from reporters during Wednesday morning’s virtual Health Ministry press conference.

He said only the paediatric tower at the Couva Multi-Training Hospital Facility is being used to house covid19 patients. But should space there run out owing to the rapidly increasing case numbers, “Plan B” will be activated – the adult tower there will be used.

He said, “We are paying attention to not only the number of cases per day, and I think the seven-day rolling average is 116 – we paid close attention to those numbers…But as far as hospitalisation is concerned, we also paid attention to the number of people coming into the hospital.”

Should that space also become filled, which Deyalsingh said he hopes does not happen, “Plan C” will be activated, which is using the Arima Hospital once again.

“I’m asking the population to help us to make sure the Arima Hospital stays for the people of Arima,” he said. “The good thing now is most of the patients being admitted are ambulatory (walking) patients, so that’s a good sign.”

Asked by Newsday for an update on the number of ventilators available for covid19 patients, Deyalsingh said of over 70 ventilators, only ten have been used to date.

“So there is no question about the shortage of ventilators or any patient needing a ventilator and not being able to access it.”

He said there are 411 beds available for covid19 patients and only 97 in use. In the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), there are 39 spaces, nine of which are being used.

He said the adult tower in Couva and the Arima Hospital, if they ever need to be used, will add around 200 more beds.


"Health Ministry outlines backup plans for public health system"

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