CMOH: Tobago ICU 'over capacity'

One of the areas in the intensive care unit at the Scarborough General Hospital for covid19 patients.   - Photo by David Reid
One of the areas in the intensive care unit at the Scarborough General Hospital for covid19 patients. - Photo by David Reid

Tobago’s covid19 Intensive Care Unit (ICU) is “over capacity,” says County Medical Officer of Health (CMOH) for Tobago Dr Tiffany Hoyte.

Hoyte was giving an update on the island’s covid19 status on Thursday during the virtual weekly news conference hosted by the THA Division of Health, Wellness and Family Development.

She said the island now has 423 active covid19 cases after six new cases were reported overnight on Wednesday.

In addition, the covid19 death toll has climbed to 67 after the death of a 94-year-old woman with comorbidities.

She said there are now 39 people in state isolation, 378 in home isolation, six in ICU and there had been 34 discharges.

“We have in Tobago currently five ICU beds, so what that says is that we’re actually over capacity, with six persons actually being housed at the Isolation Room in A&E. At this point in time, we are at the crossroads where we have this situation – so what happens for persons who come in severely ill and need an ICU bed?”

She said the ICU capacity was being expanded, but warned: "At some point in time we would be back at this position, because there is only so much room, there are only so many staff to run ICU.”

She appealed to people to go and get vaccinated.

“We’ve been pleading with persons to get vaccinated. There would be a point where, no matter how many ICU beds or ventilators we buy, staff is limited – there is not an unlimited supply of staff.

"When we get to this point, where we have more persons requiring ICU beds than we have beds, there is only so much that can be done.

"This is why we’re reminding persons: please get vaccinated – yes, we know that the vaccines are not 100 per cent bulletproof, meaning if you get vaccinated, there is still a possibility, or a reduced possibility, of becoming infected. But what we also know is that if you get vaccinated, it greatly reduces your risk of becoming one of the persons that require an ICU bed. It greatly reduces the risk of you being hospitalised.”

She said health authorities wanted to avoid a situation "where persons need a bed in ICU, they need to be ventilated and they can’t."

So, she repeated, the onus was on the public to avail themselves of the choice of vaccines available so they did not end up needing "an ICU bed that is simply not available.”

She said to date 13,083 people have been tested for covid19 in Tobago, of whom 2,254 have tested positive. There are 1,764 recovered patients.

A total of 18,555 people have received at least one dose of a covid19 vaccine and 13,658 people have received their full two doses.


"CMOH: Tobago ICU ‘over capacity’"

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