Sunday 25 October, 2020

Four field hospitals to be constructed amid surge in COVID-19 cases

Dr Christopher Tufton

Dr Christopher Tufton

Four field hospitals are to be constructed across Jamaica as the Government moves to increase bed capacity by 152 amid a significant spike in COVID-19 cases.

This would bring to close to 500, the number of hospital beds on the island dedicated to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. A little over 100 of these beds are currently occupied by COVID-19 positive patients.

The first field hospital set to be set up in Jamaica is a 40-bed facility which is a gift from the United States government. It is presently being assembled on the grounds of the Chest Hospital in St Andrew and will be formally handed over the the Jamaican government on Thursday.

The Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton, said additional equipment is being procured for the hospital and the requisite staff is being assembled. He was addressing a virtual press conference from the Office of the Prime Minister on Tuesday where the government provided an update on its COVID-19 response.

Tufton disclosed that a second 40-bed field hospital is to be established at the Mandeville Regional Hospital. It is a joint project between the Jamaican and Canadian governments and will see the Canadians contributing CDN$100,000 towards the cost of the facility.

And two 36-bed facilities will be funded by the Jamaican government at a cost of $65 million each for a combined $130 million. One facility will be located at the St Joseph’s Hospital complex in St Andrew while the other will be constructed on the site of the Falmouth Hospital in Trelawny.

“All told we’re hoping to add 152 beds in short order that would be committed to the COVID response, meaning to those who need hospital care,” Tufton said.

From just under 1,000 cases and 10 deaths in the first week of August, Jamaica has seen a significant spike in COVID-19 cases over the past seven weeks with community transmission taking place at an unbridled pace. As of Tuesday, there were 5,270 cases of the coronavirus on the island with 75 deaths. Of the confirmed cases, 3,668 are classified as active, while 16 persons are moderately ill and 10 critically ill. There have been 1,444 recoveries since Jamaica recorded its first case of the virus on March 10.

Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: