SINT MAARTEN (CAY HILL) – St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) hereby reminds the public that persons experiencing non-urgent COVID-19 symptoms should contact their House Doctor or Collective Prevention Services (CPS) for instructions prior to coming to the hospital.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, SMMC has put protocols in place to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 to other patients and staff within the hospital. These protocols include a mandatory COVID-19 triage questionnaire at all entry points which include questions such as if the patient is experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms, if they have recently traveled and if they have been in contact with anyone who has been confirmed as having COVID-19, mandatory hand hygiene and a mandatory universal masking policy which applies to patients and staff.
Despite these protocols, SMMC has seen an increase in non-urgent patients attempting to visit the Emergency Room and the Outpatient Clinics requesting check-ups to rule out COVID-19.
“Due to the recent uptick in cases on the island, we have had an increase of stable and asymptomatic patients coming to the hospital requesting a check-up to exclude COVID-19. As the only hospital on the Dutch side of the island, it is of utmost importance that we take all necessary precautions safeguard the health of our patients and employees and that includes urging the public to adhere to our COVID-19 mitigation protocols. By attempting to visit the hospital when experiencing non-urgent symptoms, these persons put our staff and patients at risk unnecessarily”, said Dr. Felix Holiday, Medical Director and Chairman of SMMC’s Outbreak Management Team.
“We encourage the public to wear masks when in public, avoid visiting the hospital unnecessarily, practice social distancing, practice proper and frequent hand hygiene and to immediately isolate if you are feeling unwell” concluded Dr. Holiday.
SMMC urges persons experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 such as fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headaches, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting and diarrhea to CALL their House Doctor or contact the CPS hotline at 914. Persons experiencing symptoms such as trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, the inability to wake or stay awake and bluish lips or face should contact the Ambulance Department by calling 912 and await further instructions.