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Visits to Argyle Isolation Facility and Covid-19 Unit at MCMH strictly prohibited

Visits to Argyle Isolation Facility and Covid-19 Unit at MCMH strictly prohibited
Grace Walters

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Visitation to the Argyle Isolation Facility and the Covid-19 Unit at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH) is strictly prohibited.

The 11 am visitation slot at the MCMH has also been discontinued for all other wards and only one person per patient, per ward is allowed during visitation hours.

These are the protocols that have been put in place in light of the rise in Covid-19 cases in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

“The group visits, all of those we have discontinued because we want to limit the amount of persons who are on any one of the wards at one time,” Grace Walters, the hospital administrator said during a virtual press conference on Tuesday.

COVID-19 cases began their upward trend locally at the end of December, resulting in people in critical condition being admitted to the hospital.

As a result, the Female Medical ward at the MCMH was cleared and modified in the first half of January this year, to provide in-patient care exclusively for patients with Covid-19 infections.

“MCMH remains the accepting hospital for all specialised cases. While we do offer a bit of, some level of in-patient care for persons in the district, the district doesn’t have the capacity at this current time to continue or to keep patients infected with Covid-19 for any long stay. So, you may find that if a person turns up at the Chateaubelair, Levi Latham or Georgetown hospital, they may only remain there for a short period of time,” the hospital administrator said on Tuesday.

Walters said that there has been a total of 35 admissions to the Covid-19 Unit since it was established earlier this year.

But as at Tuesday, there were only seven persons on the ward as persons have either been discharged to continue isolation at home or were transferred to the Argyle facility.

The Argyle Isolation Facility was constructed in 2020 and was part of the government’s early response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Walters said there are currently 16 persons at that facility, some of whom are there to receive in-patient care, while others are there solely because they do not have the capacity to isolate effectively at home.

“This has been addressed by the ministry, where we are now transitioning those individuals who are there for mainly isolation to this new facility that was recently leased by the government for this purpose,” the hospital administrator said.

While visitation is strictly prohibited at these two sites, Walters said relatives may drop off items for their loved ones at the security booth at either location.

She also noted on Tuesday that the process for admission to either of these facilities has not changed.

“The process still remains that persons are referred from…whichever various facility, be it in the public system or in the private system…persons are still being asked to go through the process because it may be that there are some things we can intervene with at the Accident and Emergency level rather than admitting a patient for hospitalisation,” Walters said.

She explained that there have been cases where persons were sent or referred to the hospital for continued care but were treated and discharged to continue isolating in their own homes.

The hospital administrator said the referring doctor is required to use written or telephone referrals where applicable.