COVID-19 spike increasing pressure on hospitals

Dr Everton McIntosh, Senior Medical Officer, Mandeville Regional Hospital, and Dr Natalie Whylie, acting CEO, Kingston Public Hospital
Mandeville Regional Hospital in Manchester has seen an increase in the number of  children being admitted with COVID-19.
The hospital's Senior Medical Officer, Dr. Everton McIntosh,  confirmed on Tuesday that the hospital's isolation facilities will have to be expanded.
He said during the third wave in July last year, the pediatric ward was retrofitted to accommodate patients in isolation. This year, because of  the current surge, the ward is now near capacity, he revealed.
At Kingston Public Hospital (KPH), Dr Natalie Whylie, the acting CEO also revealed that space challenges, due in part to COVID-19 cases have led to overcrowding in some areas of the hospital.
She said, at the start of the day, the hospital had 478 patients, which takes it just above its normal capacity of 475 beds.
"We have had to allocate 64 of our beds for isolation/quarantine," she explained, adding that at this time of year there's normally an increase in respiratory cases, "and so some of the other wards - especially the medical wards - are overcrowded."
Staffing challenge
Both KPH and Mandeville Regional Hospital are also reporting staff  shortages due to the impact of  COVID-19, with healthcare workers also being infected and having to go into isolation.
This is causing added pressure on the limited number of staff who are able to turn up for work.
In response to the pressure of the pandemic, effective today the University Hospital of  the West Indies will also reduce its clinical services by 40 per cent.
The hospital says this will allow the deployment of  scarce resources to critical areas.
A notice from the UHWI says it is experiencing a significant increase in infections among staff  members and a spike in admissions.
It says the hospital will continue to care for patients with time sensitive conditions including cancers and emergency cases.

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