Yet another patient housed at the Camp Balandra step down facility has come forward with complaints about long wait times for COVID-19 test results and deplorable conditions at the facility.
The latest patient to speak out says over the past three weeks he was tested three times for the virus but is yet to receive any results from those tests.
He said whenever he asks the medical staff stationed at the facility, he is told there are no results for him.
In an interview with Guardian Media, the patient said he was initially admitted to the Couva Hospital after testing positive for COVID-19 in early August. He spent a week there before being transferred to Camp Balandra. Before he was transferred, he was tested a second time.
At Balandra, he was tested two more times but to date, he has not been given any results.
“If my results are positive, I have a right to be told that. Why are they keeping my results from me?” he asked.
The man said when he tested positive in the first instance, he was asked by the Ministry of Health to provide a list of people he had been in contact with for contact tracing.
However, he said up until yesterday, none of those people was contacted by the ministry.
“Not one of them ever got called. I was honest and I told them who I was in contact with and all of those people say no one contacted them and said anything.”
He wants Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh to consider revamping the system that houses COVID-positive patients with mild symptoms.
“They need to be more serious about it and try to revamp the system somehow, keeping people them in the facilities for more than 14 days and not testing them or not giving them the results fast enough to clear the rooms for the new patients makes no sense,” he said.
He said he has relatives at the Caura Hospital who have also complained of run-down and dirty facilities.
He is suggesting that the Ministry of Health consider contracting a private lab to process test results from step-down facilities.
“I understand the need to separate positive patients from the rest of society but people are getting extremely frustrated in these facilities, we are not getting results, we are just in limbo here.”
He warned that if the Ministry does not do something to change the conditions that patients are being kept in, people who fall ill may not want to get tested to avoid being placed in these facilities.
“I wouldn’t want anyone to have to endure this if they don’t have to. I feel like instead of putting people with mild symptoms in step-down facilities, they should allow them to stay at home and recover. People are very stressed and taking longer to recover here because of that as well. They could use the police to ensure people don’t breach their quarantine,” he said.