The South West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA) has had to move medical personnel from its main hospitals to covid19 wards to help deal with the recent surge in covid19 cases.
Keston Joseph, SWRHA disaster coordinator, said the RHA has intensified its disaster response system and activated its various emergency operation centres (EOCs). The EOCs receive daily situation reports which allows for resource deployment, needs assessments, and other activities to support the operations of frontline workers and ensure continuity in the health sector.
“We are continuing to redeploy resources to the parallel health system. We are continuing to stretch our initial resource, we activated our mutual aid assistance from our partners so that we’ve gotten additional resources. So, we are deploying resources as we can to the parallel health service to support the efforts of our frontline health workers.”
Dr Robin Sinanan, medical director, secondary care services of the SWRHA, added that the RHA has continued to increase capacity to meet demand and has to make daily adjustments to balance regular services with covid19 needs.
One of the reasons for the increased demands, he said, was that, over the last few weeks, more people, between 20 and 25 per cent, were going to the emergency departments very ill, most needing immediate oxygen therapy.
“A common factor in these cases is that patients seem to be waiting too long to come into the hospital, sometimes as much as two to three days. And also the vast majority of them are unvaccinated.”
He advised people to look out for covid19 symptoms that could appear two to 14 days after exposure and urged them to get tested. Mild symptoms include runny nose, coughing, diarrhoea, fever, chills, shortness of breath, fatigue, body aches, nausea, vomiting and sore throat.
He said older people and those with underlying medical conditions would more likely have severe symptoms. These include chest pains, breathing that is faster than normal, the feeling of suffocating, drowsiness, sudden confusion, and severe weakness. If these symptoms occur, he suggested they call an ambulance immediately.
“The take home point I want to leave with everyone today is look for your warning signs, call your ambulance, don’t wait until it’s too late.”