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Contrasting COVID pictures at Portland, St Mary hospitals

Published:Monday | January 24, 2022 | 12:06 AMGareth Davis Sr/Gleaner Writer

While the Port Antonio Hospital is reportedly coping amid the alarming nationwide increase in COVID-19 cases and other illnesses, two health facilities in the northeast parish of St Mary are either nearing capacity or bursting at the seams.

Acting Chief Executive Officer at the Port Antonio Hospital, Chuck Berry, said that up to Friday, there were nine suspected or confirmed coronavirus cases at the facility. Of that number, one patient had returned home to receive further treatment in quarantine.

“We are in single figures, which is nine. Five out of that number are awaiting results, so only four are positive, and one has gone home,” Berry told The Gleaner on Friday.

“We are holding our own and we are doing well. Port Antonio is managing, and managing pretty well under the circumstances. We are not buckling or crumbling under the pressure. We have to recognise that those persons who are in the facility but are not critical can go home, be on medication, and can be monitored. But the ones that are critical are kept and monitored,” he added.

Meanwhile, in the neighbouring parish of St Mary, the Port Maria Hospital has reported that it is at 85 per cent of capacity.

Senior Medical Officer at that hospital, Dr Sidney Powell, said that they now have to limit their services to only emergency cases, including those with comorbidity. He pointed out that there is also the issue of persons being abandoned by family members.

According to Powell, currently they have about 12 staff members who are out due to illness, which puts a strain on the system. He added that based on communications that take place among senior medical officers, he is led to believe that the situation at Annotto Bay Hospital is at capacity, or probably exceeding that capacity now.

Powell said that at Port Maria Hospital, the situation is no different from those elsewhere, and according to him, there is a 100 per cent occupancy at the male and female adult medical wards, which poses a serious challenge.

Since January 1 to 20, there have been 692 positive cases of COVID-19 in Portland and 698 cases in St Mary. These figures were obtained from the website of the Ministry of Health and Wellness.