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Health City Cayman Islands, which shut its doors earlier this month after some of its staff were infected with coronavirus by the island’s first COVID-19 patient, reopened for emergency cases Friday.
The hospital announced that it began its first phase of reopening at noon Friday. That initial phase involves only treating patients who require emergency and critical care and who are referred from other local healthcare facilities.
All other services at the East End hospital will remain closed during the initial phase, including Outpatient Services and all elective procedures, Health City stated in a press release issued Saturday morning.
Clinical Director Dr. Binoy Chattuparambil said in the release, “As the Cayman Islands’ sole tertiary care facility, it is imperative that we open as soon as possible in order to support the emergency health care needs of the local population.
“However, we would not reopen unless we were fully confident that potential transmission of the COVID-19 virus has been suppressed. We are reassured by the most recent test results announced by Chief Medical Officer Dr. John Lee on Friday, March 27.”
Health City had announced on 13 March that it was closing for two weeks.
The hospital quarantined the medical and hospital staff that had come into contact with Cayman’s first confirmed COVID-19 case, who was a patient at the hospital. That patient, a 68-year-old Italian man who received emergency treatment for two cardiac arrests after being transported from the Costa Luminosa cruise ship on 29 Feb., passed away on 14 March.
Six of the eight confirmed coronavirus cases in the Cayman Islands have been recorded at Health City – the cruise ship passenger and five others who treated him or were connected with the staff who treated him. The two other cases involved individuals who had recently returned from overseas. A ninth case, with no travel history, is being treated as inconclusive.
To ensure that all suspected coronavirus cases are kept away from other patients, the hospital is creating two distinct areas for treatment.
One wing has been set exclusively for the isolation and treatment of all patients with suspected cases of COVID-19. Another wing of the hospital will be used only for newly admitted emergency patients.
“The newly admitted emergency patients will not have any contact with the existing patients of the hospital or the staff taking care of them. The staff taking care of the new emergency admissions are also physically segregated from those staff members taking care of the existing patients,” Health City said.
Dr. Chattuparambil added, “We now, and for the immediate future, live in a COVID-19 world and we must prepare just as we would if we knew a patient was potentially COVIID-19 positive.”
He said the hospital would announce subsequent phases of its reopening “in due course”.
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