Parallel healthcare system has not collapsed


Dr Maryam Abdool-Richards

PRINCIPAL medical officer in charge of institutions Dr Maryam Abdool-Richards and Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Roshan Parasram have said the parallel health care system to deal with the covid19 pandemic has not collapsed.

They were responding to questions from the media during the Health Ministry’s virtual news conference on Monday.

Abdool-Richards said, “Although the parallel health care system is at a 73 per cent level overall in Trinidad and Tobago in terms of the hospitals, I would not say that it has collapsed.

“But it is very close to being overwhelmed, and its resilience uis being tested.”

Giving details, she said the Augustus Long Hospital, Arima Hospital and Couva Hospital and Multi-Training Facility are currently at 92 , 72 and 70 per cent capacity respectively.

Abdool-Richards reiterated her caution that straining the parallel health care system could place a strain on the regular health care system. She said the Health Ministry “does have additional resources, such as ventilators, which we are using to incrementally, and on aphased basis, increase the capacity.”

But she warned,” These resources are of course limited and will run out if we continue at this trend.”

Abdool-Richards also said efforts are under way to increase bed capacity at UTT’s Valsayn campus from 40 to 60 beds.

Parasram said intensive care unit (ICU) and high dependency unit (HDU) capacities have been reached at the Couva Hospital and Multi-Training Facility.

He said ICUs are being set up at the Pt Fortin hospital, and there are ICUs in Arima as well.

Parsaram said additional ICU and HDU capacity will be created “with the field hospitals coming on stream by Wednesday,”

He reiterated, “We have not reached full capacity as yet. but again, it depends on how the cases go.

“The quicker we can get the total numbers down, the proportion of those people needing hospitalisation will of course decrease as well.”

Parasram said the 40 confirmed cases of the P1 variant in TT have not been attributed or related to any of the deaths.

He explained, “More or less, the trends remain similar: a slight decrease in the (number) in the higher age groups, and you are seeing some in the 50s and the 40s.

“We are seeing a slight increase in the female-to-male ratio, where for most of the pandemic, you would have had females accounting for 25 per cent, males for 75 per cent.”

Abdool-Richards said there were 20 confirmed cases of covid19 at one ward at the St Ann’s hospital, but these patients have been isolated and they are being managed similarly to patients at the Couva Hospital and Multi-Training Facility.

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