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Dr Maryam Abdool-Richards

The parallel health care system has run out of beds.

The medical teams handling the seven facilities have been warning about this for the past month, concerned that there would be no bed space for COVID-19 positive and ill patients.

Principal Medical Officer-Institutions, Dr Maryam Abdool-Richards on Saturday gave the dire news at the Ministry of Health’s update at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s.

“In our previous conversations, we have been speaking about a ten days, a seven days and a five days to go before the beds are all occupied. It’s no longer a five days, it has been touch and go for the last three to four day and all our beds are occupied,” she said.

“The increasing hospitalisation levels, the increasing number of beds really is a cause of concern for all of us, at this rate we are out of hospital beds.”

For the first two weeks of May, there have been 107 deaths from COVID-19 and over 5,000 cases of infection.

According to the Ministry of Health’s evening update, 520 new cases were reported over the past 24 hours and 11 deaths.

Abdool-Richards said that the High Dependency Unit beds are 95 per cent occupied and all beds are filled in the Intensive Care Unit.

Abdool-Richards said that the rolling average in terms of the number of cases per day continued to increase and was currently at 380 cases per day over the last seven days.

“And that really represents an increasing number of hospitalisations at our seven hospitals in the parallel health care system, all of which are, as of today, occupied,” she said.

“The numbers of admissions continue to exceed the number of discharges. The hospital has a net increase on a daily average in terms of the number of patients.”

Abdool-Richards said that there was an increasing upward trend in admissions and while it was still a dynamic situation that changes daily, there has been an increase in the gap between admissions and discharges.

“Now as far as that widening of the gap is concerned, this really represents an increase of between 30 and 50 patients on a daily level across each hospital,” she said.

She said in response to the climbing numbers, the Ministry of Health increased the number of beds in the parallel health care system by 130 and the 80 beds (210) in the two medical tents donated by the United States.

“As fast as we increase these beds, they were filled,” she said.

Even more worrisome, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh said that once those additional 210 beds were filled, there was nothing else to be added.

“It is our hope that the surge capacity provided by the 130 plus the 80 which is 210, will be more than sufficient to see us through. What we are hoping that with the public’s behaviour to stop gathering that the need, the demand for hospital beds would go down,” Deyalsingh said.

He said that he hoped to “rally out” the next two weeks.

“It is not an infinite supply but right now we should be alright,” he said.