A CALL to the general public to remain calm and vigilant in light of the current 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID – 2019) threat has been made by Tapion Hospital, a corporate community funded health facility operating in Castries.
“The bedrock for the public remaining calm, however, is CONFIDENCE in the System. The Ministry of Health must be the lead ministry in this fight and it mustn’t be stifled or have its decisions abrogated by any other ministry while it carries out due diligence through the adequate provision of resources, financing, personnel etc.,” noted the hospital yesterday.
In urging the authorities to ensure and enforce adequate Port Health Security both in St Lucia and before anyone travels to St Lucia, so as to minimise the possibility of entry of foreigners who have been infected, the hospital Stated that authorities must have the ability to detect and quarantine any locals who have symptoms of the virus.
“During the Ebola outbreak, we sourced the help of the University Hospital of Martinique and Cubans. The latter have had great experience in fighting infectious diseases in Africa. We should strongly consider this same possibility and have a designated area away from the general hospital for possible infected persons who were missed even though port security was stringent,” the hospital remarked in a statement.
Noting that the CDC in the USA says it is not a matter of “if” but “when”(the virus will be spread throughout the country), indicating how on February 26th, 2020 San Francisco in the USA declared a state of emergency over Coronavirus, the Hospital said that Saint Lucia needs to be at the cutting edge of preparation.
“All patients are advised to listen to the information provided by the Ministry of Health and reliable information available on the Internet (WHO, PAHO). Coronavirus Infection is a Respiratory and Infectious illness. Symptoms include, respiratory symptoms, cough or Shortness of Breath with fever and history of travel to China, or other countries now known to have the virus or close contact with a person known to have a COVID – 2019 Illness,” advised the hospital.
“If you have any of these: cough, shortness of Breath, fever and history of travel, you are advised to call your General Practitioner or Primary Health Care Provider or call the Tapion Hospital at 4592000 or Tapion Hospital ER 4592617 before your arrival at Hospital. You will be advised how to proceed thereafter,” the hospital cautioned.
The hospital meanwhile urges the general public to wash hands before and after eating or to use a hand sanitizer; Wash hands after using the bathroom or use a hand sanitizer; wash hands using soap or alcohol-based sanitizer after wiping nose or a cough.
The hospital further cautioned persons who are ill with cough, nasal congestion and cold symptoms, fever and have a history of travel to China or exposure to persons who have, to please stay home and call a doctor for advice.
“Stay away from persons who are sick with symptoms of Respiratory illness if possible. Be sensible, do not panic. Call for advice. Do not arrive unexpected to hospital or your health care provider. Use a face mask if possible, to minimize droplets spread to others. Use disposable paper towels and dispose in the garbage if you have productive sputum or nasal discharge. Avoid touching your nose and mouth if you are sick with cough or fever. Be responsible and think of others, the welfare of your other family members, and the other members of your community,” the hospital advised.
Tapion Hospital believes Saint Lucia will overcome this significant imminent threat if everyone works together as Team St Lucia.