ERHA Photos of old aged home in Sangre Grande where COVID-19 patients have been moved to. The authority says it is clean and well kept.

The Eastern Regional Health Authority says it has a programme of psychological support for the recovering COVID-19 patients at the step-down facility at Brooklyn Settlement in Sangre Grande.

In a release on Monday, a day after the 30 patients complained that the conditions at the facility were uncomfortable and inhabitable, the ERHA said a professional team is assigned to reach out to each patient to assist with their progress, emphasising their progress and reminding them that they will soon be reunited with their loved ones.

The authority also insisted that steps were taken to thoroughly clean and sanitise the facility before occupation. However, photographs provided by some of the patients to the media over the weekend told a different story. Some of them showed worn down furniture, old appliances and an infestation of cockroaches.

During the virtual press conference updating the country on the virus on Monday, Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh said the 30 patients had agreed to stay on after the ERHA did some remedial work at the facility to address their concerns.

In its release, the ERHA said medical and janitorial support personnel are stationed at the facility to address the needs of the patients and additional support is also available on call. It said Defence Force personnel are ensuring the patients remain isolated from the other members of the public.

It noted that the step-down facility was a model that:

1) Removes the confinement of a hospital setting.

2) Allows free movement within the facility

3) Provides access to fresh air, sunlight, space for physical exercise and provides comfortable accommodation in an assisted living environment.

It said separate rooms were furnished to provide double, triple or quadruple occupancy, thereby removing the hospital ward setting and offering more privacy to the patients and there are also assigned recreation rooms with televisions, Wi-Fi and cable televisions and dining areas.