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Bracing for the worst

Hospitals under intense pressure from fourth wave of COVID

Published:Saturday | January 15, 2022 | 12:11 AMTamara Bailey/Gleaner Writer

Mandeville, Manchester:

The fourth wave of COVID-19 has left the Mandeville Regional Hospital and the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) struggling to cope with a sharp surge in the number of patients battling the highly transmissible virus.

Regional Director of the Southern Regional Health Authority, Michael Bent, said the Mandeville Regional Hospital has exceeded its isolation ward capacity, while general admissions are almost at 100 per cent capacity.

At the UHWI, the COVID areas within the Emergency Medicine Division, including the field hospital, are at capacity and 10 per cent of the medical staff are out owing to the virus.

In a release yesterday, the UHWI said that patients visiting the hospital should expect delays due to an increased number of COVID-19 infections and hospitalisation within the facility.

“In Mandeville we have 226 patients as at Friday morning, and of that number we have 33 COVID positive and four suspected cases. There are 37 workers at the hospital [of approximately 780] that included nurses doctors and other staff members, that have either tested positive or come in contact and are quarantining,” Bent said.

According to Bent, Percy Junor, which is a 100-bed facility, now has 58 patients admitted, and of that number, five are COVID positive and a similar number suspected to have the virus.

He said 19 employees at the facility have been impacted and are currently quarantining.

“We are hoping that the numbers don’t increase significantly but we still have to plan for it. If it (increase) happens, just like what we did during the third wave, we would have to reutilise other spaces. Fortunately, we would have already committed some additional spaces in some of the facilities, so we would have to get into utilising those and going into emergency mode, depending on the nature of it,” he said.

Bent reported that in Clarendon, the May Pen Hospital has 193 patients at the 205-bed facility, and of that number, there are 14 COVID positive patients and 15 suspected to have contracted the virus.

Jamaica on Thursday recorded 1,262 more COVID-19 cases, pushing the tally to 108,983. A total of 2,915 tests were conducted.

The country COVID-19 positivity rate climbed to a new record of 68.6 per cent.