Military facility to shield QEH from COVID-19

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The Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH)will be getting much-needed assistance from the Barbados Defence Force (BDF) in the fight to keep the COVID-19 pandemic away from the island’s lone tertiary healthcare facility.

On Sunday morning, authorities unveiled a Field Medical Facility (FMF) currently situated at the UWI Cave Hill Campus Clinical Research Unit on Jemmott’s Lane, which will serve as a temporary extension of the Accident and Emergency Department Unit.

The decision was taken amid reports that Barbadians exhibiting signs of COVID-19 were still reporting to the QEH despite specific instructions not to do so. This initially prompted changes at the Accident and Emergency to ensure those with respiratory symptoms are separated from other patients.

During a tour of the FMF, officials explained that the facility, comprising three military tents, will allow such persons to be treated and tested for the deadly virus in an environment separate from the main hospital.

Coordinator of the BDF’s Medical Emergency Team, Major Junior Browne, said the facility, which can accommodate approximately 20 patients was assembled in less than 24 hours by a team of 130 volunteers. It will be manned by a team of health experts including medical personnel from Cuba under the charge of Dr David Byer.

“When persons arrive for observation, they will be swabbed and they will wait between six and 24 hours for results, depending on the time they come back here, the swabs will be taken to the Best Dos Santos lab and once the results are made known, that individual will be treated accordingly,” the military officer disclosed.

Major Browne whose substantive post is G5 officer in charge of strategic planning assured that the tents pitched at Jemmott’s Lane will keep patients cool, safe and comfortable while admitted.

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