ACTING Medical Chief of Staff, Scarborough General Hospital Dr Victor Wheeler has denied allegations of a cover-up of covid19 cases at the hospital.
In a press statement on Saturday, Wheeler said, "Some false information has been circulating in the media about an imaginary cover-up of covid cases."
Last Thursday, the Division of Health, Wellness and Family Development announced 52 new covid19 cases on the island – the largest single-day tally. The island is currently experiencing its biggest wave, with 331 active cases.
Progressive Democratic Patriots deputy leader Dr Faith BYisrael on Friday expressed concern about the sharp rise and called on Secretary of Health Tracy Davidson-Celestine to account for a "crisis in leadership" in her division.
BYisrael also questioned why Wheeler, acting general manager, primary care, Dr Roxanne Mitchell and covid19 task force member Dr Anthony Thompson did not attend Thursday's health briefing with Davidson-Celestine.
BYisrael has also called for more attention to covid19 cases at the hospital, which she described as an outbreak.
Without addressing anyone in particular, Wheeler countered, "We have had clusters. People need to be reminded that we are in a pandemic and as in any public health institution, we will have cases."
Wheeler said healthcare workers are also exposed to the virus outside their place of employment.
"The healthcare workers are also members of the public with lives outside of the workplace, where there is community spread.
"Healthcare workers are mandated to use appropriate PPE while treating patients at work. PPE use outside of the workplace is not as stringent, for example when sharing a meal or when travelling home from work in the same car."
Wheeler noted the majority of the 52 cases recorded were not from the hospital.
"Our daily figures covers the whole of Tobago...Of the 52 cases, seven were from the hospital, including healthcare workers and ancillary staff.
"The TRHA is responsible for the care of all covid-positive cases in Tobago. The hospital continues to deliver healthcare to the public and continues to protect staff and patients.
"There is no cover-up. We are always open to the media and public for inquires and clarification."
An unrelated statement from the Division of Health, Wellness and Family Development on Saturday addressed the increased demand for oxygen, owing to the pandemic, and its supplier.
It said, "The Scarborough General Hospital produces oxygen to supply the needs of the hospital and all health centres on the island. The covid19 treatment facilities at Fort King George increased the demands for oxygen so we get supplies from Trinidad to supplement this increased demand."