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Elective surgeries and outpatient clinics cease at MCMH due to COVID19 spike

Elective surgeries and outpatient clinics cease at MCMH due to COVID19 spike
SISTER GRACE WALTERS the hospital administrator

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The Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH)is already feeling the strain of the spike in COVID19 cases and the authorities there have been forced to make adjustments.

Outpatient special clinics and elective surgeries have been discontinued at the hospital as the local healthcare system adjusts to manage the latest COVID19 spike across the country.

Sister Grace Walters the hospital administrator, said this week that they have been experiencing some challenges at the hospital which led to the halt in these services.

“We can no longer accommodate our outpatient specialist clinic at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital because we’re seeing a lot of patients coming in who require isolation, and our resources are stretched in terms of the space we have available and in terms of our actual consumables,” Walters said on NBC radio on Tuesday morning.

The hospital administrator added that human resources are also being stretched.

St Vincent and the Grenadines has recorded more 200 new cases of COVID19 since the start of September with as many as 54 cases being recorded in one day.

Within a four-day period, from September 11 to September 15, 126 cases were recorded locally.

Two additional deaths have also been recorded up to Thursday September 16, bringing the total to 14.

“We are not having any elective surgeries at the moment, based on our resources. If perchance there are urgent cases, or emergencies, we cater to those, but the elective surgeries like persons who have an appointment to come into the hospital to do a surgery next week, we are not doing those at the moment. We are only doing the urgent and emergency cases,” Walters said.

While there are no outpatient clinics at the MCMH, the hospital administrator noted that this service is being offered at the Buccament and Stubbs Polyclinics and the Levi Latham Health Complex.

She said that this service will continue at these facilities “until we are forced to also close those clinics because we are seeing that we have more and more persons accessing the health services, who eventually are diagnosed with COVID”.

Walters said that the hospital is currently functioning on a decreased bed capacity due to repairs at the Male Medical Ward, and persons who have been abandoned at the hospital by their families, also occupying bed space.

Other district hospitals at Georgetown, Chateaubelair and the Levi Latham Health Complex have a combined total of 46 beds.

But Walters explained that “…those facilities are not equipped per se to handle or manage patients appropriately. There are some things that would need to be done in order to make them ready to hold, or to nurse patients who are diagnosed with COVID19”.

Since the initial surge of COVID19 infection earlier this year, the 11a.m visiting hour slot was discontinued at the MCMH, leaving only the 3 to 5p.m visiting period.

The hospital administrator said this week that this will continue, and that the hospital again will restrict visiting to two persons per patient in an effort to mitigate the gathering of persons on the open ward.

Walters is also appealing with persons to limit their visits to at least 15 minutes and to drop off items for their loved ones during that time, rather than making multiple trips to the wards.

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