One month after the country registered its first case of COVID-19, at least one patient at the step-down facility in Brooklyn, Sangre Grande is describing the facility as deplorable and uninhabitable.
The patient, which wants to remain anonymous, was part of a group of 30 people transferred from the Couva Hospital and taken to the facility on Sunday morning.
The facility was previously a home for the elderly.
Yesterday the patient told Guardian Media they were taken from the Couva Hospital in the middle of the night and arrived in Sangre Grande just around midnight.
He said they were made to stand and wait till 5 am for a doctor to create a new patient profile.
But the host of complaints arose because of the “derelict infrastructure and inhumane conditions.”
He said, “There cockroaches crawling down everywhere it was the most rundown building I have ever seen…There are no dustbins but only,” filthy,” garbage bags in the toilet area.”
In fact, he said the toilet doesn’t even close and the door is hanging on by a screw.
He also lamented that women and men are sharing the same bathroom.
He said he hadn’t slept a wink since arriving at the house as, “there are no fans, no air condition and the place is stifling hot.”
“It’s mentally depressing,” he said.
He said the patients being housed there feel like “caged animals or prisoners.”
He said patients have been begging to be tested but these requests have been met with excuses. He said the latest patients were told was that the doctor could not come to swab them because it is Easter.
He explained they were brought there because they were no longer showing symptoms and because of this he questioned why he was not allowed to self-quarantine at home.
He said there is no reason for him to be there because he isn’t receiving any medical treatment.
The patient said the circumstances would only serve to dissuade others from coming forward to get tested.
Guardian Media sent the complaints to CMO and Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh but no response was received up to press time.
The main complain we sent read, “I received information from a patient at the Sangre Grande facility that the place is derelict and has inhumane conditions. He, as well as other patients, are asking whether, because they are asymptomatic, they can be tested and sent home to self-quarantine.”
In response Chief Executive Officer of the Eastern Regional Health Authority (ERHA), Ronald Tsoi a Fatt assured that the facility was cleaned and sanitised more than once Saturday and said they even contacted pest control.
The ERHA CEO said he understands that these patients have been in quarantine for some time and would be tired and frustrated but he insisted that all was being done to take care of them while on the road to recovery.
Tsoi a Fast said the request for self-quarantine cannot be facilitated at this time as they still run the risk of infecting others. He called on the patients to have patience saying they’ll be tested again within seven days and once the tests come back negative they’ll be sent home.