SINT MAARTEN (CAY HILL) – With the current increase in COVID-19 infections in the community and the consequent hospitalizations (12 as of today), St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) is seeing that the vast majority of persons admitted to the hospital needing COVID care are unvaccinated.
“It’s clear as night and day: the unvaccinated are leading the current wave of hospital COVID admissions, not only on St. Maarten but in the entire Dutch Kingdom and beyond”, stated Dr. Felix Holiday, SMMC’s Medical Director and chairman of the Outbreak Management Team.
“For St. Maarten, the rise in COVID admissions means that we again have arrived at a critical stage whereby our care capacity is pushed to its limits; our medical staff and nurses are again pressured immensely and we are doing all that we can to safeguard our overall healthcare system. Unfortunately, this could have been avoided if everyone would have gotten vaccinated. COVID vaccinations are clearly working as demonstrated by the current wave of hospitalizations. The very few that are vaccinated and hospitalized have underlying medical conditions (comorbidities) which affects their immune system and thus they will always be in a high-risk group of contracting COVID. Literate shows that the COVID vaccine protects you from severe illness, lowers the chance considerably of you infecting others and is 88% effective against the now prevalent delta variant. The vaccines are safe and effective: please get vaccinated”, concluded Dr. Holiday.
In response to the increase in active cases and the prevalence of the highly contagious delta variant, SMMC has postponed all non-urgent and elective admissions to the Medical/Surgical Department. Patient visiting hours continue to be suspended and SMMC’s mandatory masking policy for both staff and patients also remains in effect indefinitely.
When visiting the Outpatient Department for appointments, patients (both vaccinated and unvaccinated) are asked to ensure that they fill out the COVID-19 screening questions truthfully, that their masks are worn correctly and that the social distancing rules and guidelines are adhered to. Only persons with appointments may be allowed to enter the building with the exception of minors and medically indicated companions. Persons who refuse to comply or cooperate may be kindly asked to leave.
Persons with friends or family admitted to SMMC are asked to make use of text messages and phone and video calls where possible to keep in touch with their loved ones. Persons wishing to receive an update on a patient must contact the patient’s emergency contact (which is typically a spouse or immediate family member) as SMMC does not provide patient information to third parties in an effort to protect and uphold patient confidentiality and their patients’ right to privacy.
SMMC strongly urges the public to adhere to social distancing guidelines, wear masks in public, practice hand hygiene and get vaccinated. Patients experiencing flu-like symptoms are also asked to kindly refrain from visiting the hospital for Outpatient appointments and call their House Doctor or CPS as it poses a potential threat to staff and other patients, some of whom may be at a higher risk of contracting severe COVID-19.