Mon | Oct 26, 2020

Field hospital opens at Chest

Published:Friday | September 25, 2020 | 12:15 AM
Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton examines a bed at the field hospital at National Chest Hospital in Kingston on Thursday. To his left are Minister of Foreign Affairs Kamina Johnson Smith and United States Ambassador Donald Tapia. The f
Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton examines a bed at the field hospital at National Chest Hospital in Kingston on Thursday. To his left are Minister of Foreign Affairs Kamina Johnson Smith and United States Ambassador Donald Tapia. The field hospital was gifted by Washington at a cost of $12 million.

Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton says the new 70-bed field hospital erected at the National Chest Hospital in Kingston will have the requisite personnel to man the facility.

Fully equipped to treat patients with COVID-19, the field hospital was donated by the United States Southern Command at a cost of J$12 million.

Speaking at a handover ceremony at the hospital on Thursday, Tufton said the facility has been donated at the right time, when Jamaica is experiencing community transmission of the highly contagious virus.

Warning that COVID-19 was not “child’s play”, the health minister said that the ministry had seen an increase in the number of persons hospitalised with the virus.

As at Wednesday, the country’s death count from the virus had increased to 77.

With plans to establish another three field hospitals across the country, Tufton said that this would add another 150 beds for patients if the need arises.

Asked whether the ministry would be able to find personnel to staff the other field hospitals, Tufton gave this response: “All COVID patients are not the same in terms of their conditions. It is a function of which patients you put where.

“I suspect that the most severe patients would go into the traditional hospitals, the not-so-severe would go maybe here (the field hospital), and the least severe would go into holding areas, like the hotels.”

Tufton said the ministry has done well so far, admitting that there was burnout among staff.

“We are now again to see how we can improve some additional capacities,” he said.

The minister said the Government was also looking at the possibility of bringing in more Cuban health personnel to assist locally.

edmond.campbell@gleanerjm.com