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Health City Cayman Islands has issued assurances that patients are being monitored and strict protocols are being followed as the hospital lockdown continued for the fourth day Monday.
“We have very strict infection control protocols in place at Health City Cayman Islands, and therefore we can safely manage those patients internally who cannot be relocated due to the complexity of their situation during this two-week suspension of services,” Health City clinical director Dr. Binoy Chattuparambil told the Cayman Compass in an email response to queries.
“Any patient who displays any symptoms related to COVID-19 infection will be further isolated.
However, this is not necessary at present as no further patients are exhibiting any flu-like symptoms,” he said.
The hospital is also giving patients the option of moving to another healthcare facility of their choice to continue their treatment if they wish.
The patient, a 68-year-old Italian man who was taken off a cruise ship on 29 Feb. with a critical cardiac emergency, has since passed away.
His wife remains in isolation at the East End hospital. She has been tested for COVID-19 as well and the hospital is awaiting the results.
The hospital has isolated 40 members of staff, 30 of whom have been tested. The families of staff who were at direct risk from the patient are also in isolation.
Those in the community have raised concerns about COVID exposure since they attended the hospital while the coronavirus patient was there, but Chattuparambil said those concerns are unwarranted.
He said the patient was isolated when he came in, given his cardiac condition and further quarantined following the positive test result.
“Many people in the larger community will also have been in contact with persons from the USA, Canada, the UK, Italy etc., either through travel themselves or from persons coming to our shores from those jurisdictions into the Cayman Islands.
If they are without symptoms, we wouldn’t tell them to self-quarantine,” he said.
Established protocols state that only individuals displaying flu-like symptoms should stay home and self-isolate for two weeks.
“The same is true for individuals who have been in contact with people at Health City. Please take heed of the other cases present throughout the Caribbean and bear travel history in mind. Our population travels extensively, so we should all listen to the advice from HMCI [Hazard Management Cayman Islands] regarding travel-related safeguards,” Chattuparambill added.
The hospital will not be contacting patients since “it would not follow the current international health guidelines”, he said.
“If individuals have no symptoms, they are to follow what Hazard Management Cayman Islands has been communicating regarding prevention measures, i.e., washing hands frequently, refraining from non-essential travel and avoiding large gatherings,” Chattuparambil said.