As recent as yesterday the union members of the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital have expressed concerns over the resources and readiness of that facility as they relate to the COVID-19 response. Both Prime Minister Barrow and the Health Director addressed the matter.
Michelle Hoare, CEO, Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital: “Basically what we just wanted to do is to meet with the multi agency from this region, the Belize district, Central Health Region, Belize Emergency Response Team, the private sector, CEMO, KHMH management team, Ministry of Health was also here but basically it was just to organize ourselves to share our agency specific response plans so that we could better coordinate and strengthen our response for this Coronavirus in the event it becomes a public health concern for Belize City.”
The issue of isolation has also been of concern particularly the idea of self-isolation. According to the head table, there are several options being explored for isolation camps ranging from the acquisition of a Mennonite house to other means of isolation.
Michelle Hoare, CEO, Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital: “The capacity for our isolation area is eight for adults and two for pediatrics but we need to bear in mind that we are only managing critical care patients and given the nature of the disease, the Coronavirus infection, critical care management is on the lower end of the spectrum so persons requiring that level support is the lower percentage. You will have however persons who may require hospitalization for other reasons and so depending on the numbers and where they are we will be able to maybe scale it up for those types of patients but in the meantime the communication with the regions is to ensure that their response plans are tight and they are able to accommodate those persons who will not require critical care admissions and so that’s where we are for now. I don’t like the instill fear but I know that the public is generally concerned, it’s something new to the country, it’s a pandemic a disease of international concern and so people are concerned what it is that we are supposed to do. My message to the general public will be to ensure that they understand how this virus is spread, it is spread through droplets and contact, know what to do if anybody becomes ill, if they are not ill enough to come to the hospital then they could seek medical attention and get advice as to what to do in their respective home you know single rooms, not to mingle with the rest of the family, separate utensils, keep the environment clean, maintain personal hygiene, and for the general public who are not ill start looking at public health measures such as hand washing, social distancing, cover your coughs when you’re coughing, clean your surfaces, ensure you maintain your environment clean because when we talk about droplets it’s not only direct transmission it’s also surfaces and other fomites that you use – your utensils, the phone, door knobs, elevator knobs, rails, all these things so persons need to be aware that these are some of the measures that we could start putting in place. For the business community we need to look at distancing the public from their front line workers these types of measures that will as much as possible minimize transmission and for those persons who are ill keep away from persons who are not ill, stay at home, don’t send children to school you know these types of things because when you’re ill when you’re symptomatic this is the peak of the infectious process and you can transmit to other persons this virus so we need to keep the country safe, we need to keep our citizens safe and so that would be my message.”