Minister of Health Terrence Dayalsingh.

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The family of a 69-year-old COVID-19 patient who recovered only to contract the virus again is calling on the Government to explain why she was transferred from the Couva Hospital to Caura Hospital, noting there are sub-standard conditions at the latter institution. Sharon Dow, who lives in England, told Guardian Media that the Caura Hospital was run down and her mother is now staying in a ward that has no curtains, so light from the surrounding area floods her room at nights, keeping her up. “The lack of curtains also means that she has no privacy. The whole environment is not conducive to her recovery. I fear that she will fall into ill health, not only physically but mentally as well. This is in stark contrast to her experience at Couva,” Dow told Guardian Media yesterday.Dow explained that doctors initially diagnosed her mother with COVID-19 and she spent seven weeks in the Couva Hospital and after recovering, the nearby Home of Football step-down facility. She said her mother, who lives in San Fernando, recovered quickly with excellent medical and nursing care, describing it as of the “highest standard” with the professionalism demonstrated by all staff. However, after her mother was retested by doctors last Saturday, she was found to be positive again but asymptomatic.

“The (Couva) hospital was very clean and comfortable with good catering. I am sure that these factors aided her speedy recovery and now she is asymptomatic. She has tested positive, but in all other respects, she is well,”Dow said last Saturday, her mother returned to the Couva Hospital for blood tests and instead of being returned to the step-down facility she was taken to the Caura Hospital.“Upon arrival, she was told that her family has to bring food for her. Of course, this is unfeasible given the fact that the family is in San Fernando,” Dow said.“She accepts that her swabs are positive and she must remain in isolation for some time but how is she meant to cope and recover fully in this sub-standard environment? She is a 69-year-old grandmother who has coped so well for seven weeks.

“She does not need to be shunted from one hospital to another, especially where this last one is a real step backwards. Why was she moved? What is the benefit of the move to Caura?”

Dow said her mother may have initially contracted the virus from her father, who has also since recovered.

When asked about the patient yesterday, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh refused to divulge any information citing patient confidentiality.