Over 40 percent of patients at Mental Health facility test positive for Covid-19
by Bria King
More than 40 per cent of the patients at the Mental Health Rehabilitation Centre (MHRC) have tested positive for COVID-19 and have been placed in isolation at the Grace and Truth Campsite at Queen’s Drive.
The National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) issued a release on Friday, reporting that there were 26 new COVID-19 cases, which included 23 positive results for patients and staff of the mental health facility at Villa/Glen.
The number of positive cases from that facility has since risen to 92. Of that number, 86 are patients and six, staff members.
Dr Simone Keizer-Beache, the chief medical officer said some persons have expressed concern about the placement of the positive patients at Queen’s Drive but she asked for persons to be patient and understanding as it relates to placement of the COVID-19 positive patients.
“…These are our loved ones and we need to really care for them. We need to keep them somewhere that is safe, so that they can recover safely and at the same time, we contain the spread at Villa,” the chief medical officer said.
Keizer-Beache also anticipates that some may question why the patients were not placed at the Argyle Isolation Centre, where ill COVID-19 patients are sometimes placed to isolate.
She said that the decision was made based on the number of persons that tested positive for the virus and the fact that none of them are ill.
About 111 patients remain at the MHRC, having returned negative test results.
Based on the protocol established since May 2020 for all local health institutions, all admissions are to be screened for exposure using the rapid antibody test.
SEARCHLIGHT understands that testing at the MHRC was triggered when someone who was discharged from the facility was later found to be positive.
However, Keizer-Beache said yesterday that health authorities were in the process of testing all patients at some of their institutions, in preparation to administer the COVID-19 vaccine.
“We had just finished the Lewis Punnett Home and we were about to do mental health, so even without that person showing up, we were about to test everybody there in preparation for giving the vaccine, once we had consent….It just so happened that this person, having been discharged from mental health, turned up at another facility and then…because of that, we decided to check everybody in the facility,” she said.
The chief medical officer added that all tests of residents at the Lewis Punnett home were negative and that the process of getting consent from relatives to vaccinate residents there is ongoing.
She also said staff at these facilities are being encouraged to be vaccinated as well.
Going forward, local health authorities intend to reinforce the screening for Covid-19 of patients at the facilities.
Both patients and staff are also advised to continue using other preventative methods, which include the wearing of masks and appropriate hand hygiene.
Visiting hours have been reduced at some facilities, while it is prohibited at others such as the MHRC.
An undated sign at the facility in Villa/Glen is taped to its closed gates, highlighting that “due to the increased spread of COVID-19 in St Vincent and the Grenadines, we are forced to restrict all visitors to this institution. Therefore, no visitors are allowed until further notice”.