Wed | May 27, 2020

West ramping up isolation rooms, protective gear stock

Published:Wednesday | April 1, 2020 | 12:21 AMChristopher Thomas/Gleaner Writer
Errol Greene, WRHA regional director.
Errol Greene, WRHA regional director.


With the global spread of COVID-19 becoming increasingly ominous, the Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA) says it is boosting its isolation room and protective gear capacity for hospitals for which it has oversight.

Errol Greene, the WRHA’s regional director, said that efforts are being made to have no fewer than four isolation areas at each of the region’s four hospitals. He admitted, however, that more equipment such as ventilators, masks and gloves will be needed.

Greene disclosed that the WRHA was aiming to beef up to 10 the number of isolation rooms at Montego Bay’s Cornwall Regional, the main hospital in western Jamaica.

“We’re also putting in potentially another 10 for the Savanna-la-Mar Hospital, in Westmoreland, but we can accommodate four at Noel Holmes Hospital, in Lucea and four at Falmouth Public Hospital in Trelawny,” said Greene.

The director declined to pronounce on the ventilator inventory in the health authority, but said that one ventilator per isolated patient would be required.

As hospitals in coronavirus hotspots buckle globally under the weight of overcrowded wards, personal protective equipment – such as face masks, gloves, gowns – have become gold in the COVID-19 world order. Ventilators, crucial to saving the lives of SARS-CoV-2 patients with severe respiratory problems, are also in short supply.

The WRHA boss also expressed gratitude to corporate donors, including members of the Chinese community who have handed over millions of dollars’ worth of equipment. Greene said their support has been “overwhelming”.

“We have members of the Chinese community who have donated over J$4 million worth of items to the hospitals, we have persons in the transport industry who have offered transportation, and we have persons in the hospitality industry who have offered their premises to be used as quarantine facilities,” said Greene.

The regional director said that western Jamaica accounted for four persons in isolation for COVID-19. Another 30 have self-quarantined at home.

Jamaica has recorded 38 cases of COVID-19 and two deaths.

To date, there have been more than 800,000 confirmed COVID-19 infections globally across the world and almost 40,000 deaths.