Hanover Health Department buckling under quarantine numbers
Front-line health workers in Hanover are said to be struggling in their quest to properly monitor the number of persons in the parish who are supposed to be under home quarantine and, as a consequence, a request has been made to the Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA) to provide additional staff to assist in the process.
The Gleaner has learned that Hanover, which was the last parish to confirm a case of COVID-19 and still has the lowest number of confirmed cases, has been seeing a rapid increase in the number of persons under home quarantine as a result of persons arriving in the parish from overseas.
In a report from the Hanover Health Department, which was tabled at the monthly meeting of the Hanover Municipal Corporation (HMC) on Thursday, it was revealed that since May when the first case of the disease was reported in the parish, the number of persons arriving from overseas and needing to be quarantined has been on the increase.
“By the end of June, the Hanover Health Department had been monitoring more than 250 persons, and the number has been growing since the international airports opened on June 15,” the report stated.
Dr Kaushal Singh, medical officer of health (MOH) for Hanover, in presenting his report, stated: “In the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Hanover Health Department has been overstretched between focusing on the COVID-19 disease-prevention activities, while maintaining quality services in all health programme areas.”
Singh told The Gleaner in a subsequent interview that personnel in Hanover the health services have had to be creative in trying to cope with the increased workload.
“We are rotating and sharing the responsibility – public health inspectors, nurses, and doctors – all are sharing this monitoring aspect,” Singh stated, adding that the health personnel have divided themselves into three teams to cover the three health districts in the parish.
Singh is calling on the WRHA to conduct interviews with a view to employing 29 community-health aides, who are urgently needed to join the monitoring team.
“There is a recruitment request for five medical officers. We interviewed some nurses, so in a few weeks we will be in a better position with staff complement,” said Singh. He added that some of the persons who are supposed to be under home quarantine have not been cooperating and in some instances, have even been abusive to health personnel.
“We face a lot of resistance, sometimes they become abusive, and we just have to keep ourselves cool and respond very professionally,” said Singh. “If they do not cooperate, we can pass the information to the police for action.”
The MOH pointed out that persons who disobey their quarantine order can be removed from the parish and put in a government quarantine facility in St James.