Six registered nurses in the last two weeks tested positive for COVID19 at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex in Mt. Hope.
President of the T&T Registered Nurses Association, Idi Stuart in an interview with Guardian Media, confirmed the cases.
He also said that on the same ward, three patients also tested positive out of 10 other patients on the ward.
The outbreak has been happening during a two- week period, he said.
He said, “We would have had six nurses testing positive on that ward and we would have had a number of nurses had to be quarantined and swabbed as they were beginning to get signs and symptoms and we also had three patients dying from that ward.”
He said there are a number of wards at the complex that have COVID-19 patients but those did not have this mass outbreak and we have been asking the authority to test every patient who has to be admitted and for some reason, they are hesitant to do that but reluctantly the authority is now forced to test patients that will be warded as it is becoming too prevalent.
“Our association spoke to the nursing personnel on the wards, they had enough and because the authorities were actually refusing because if we have to test them they will have to be placed in quarantine and they cannot afford to lose any nurses,” Stuart said.
He added, “It is becoming to prevalent within the wards and it causes a ripple effect to have a positive person on the ward because of the close nature of persons on wards and you end up getting that spread from patient to patient and to staff, it means you are having more patients into the Couva Medical Facility and that means more nurses getting sick and we are suffering from a shortage of nurses personnel and now you are placing more nurses in quarantine.”
He added that many of the RHA’s are hesitant to admit patients and “we are now seeing that some services will not be taking place so the bed demand is reducing in some areas even because they are not doing elective surgeries.”
He added, “So the RHA’s are reacting to the rising numbers in the parallel health care system which is now overflowing in the general health care system by reducing the number of services”, he said.
Stuart said he is begging for a policy change by the Ministry of Health to let patients being warded to have a rapid antigen test given to new patients as a form of prevention for health care workers outside the parallel health care system