SMMC implements precautionary measures in light of COVID-19 | THE DAILY HERALD

St. Maarten Medical Center.

~ Patient visiting hours will be limited starting March 16 ~

 CAY HILL–St. Maarten Medical Center’s (SMMC’s) Outbreak Management Team (OMT) has enacted precautionary measures to limit the possible exposure to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) to ensure the safety of SMMC’s patients, staff and visitors alike.

  “Since the OMT was activated earlier this month, daily meetings have been held, several including members of the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour VSA and Ministry of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure VROMI,” said SMMC in a press release on Friday.

  SMMC said it has increased alertness and surveillance to reduce exposure to COVID-19 through several measures. The hospital has installed special COVID-19 signage at all SMMC entry points to highlight symptoms and proper preventive measures such as sanitizing guidelines to all patients and visitors. Cough etiquette stations have also been installed at all SMMC entry points.

  SMMC said the expansion of triage activities will be completed before entering certain sections of the hospital such as the Emergency Room (ER) and the Outpatient Department (policlinics).

  SMMC reduced patient visiting hours to twice a day, 11:30am to 12:00pm and 6:00pm to 7:00pm, starting on Monday, March 16. The number of visitors per patient will be limited to 1 visitor per patient and no children are allowed.

  Patients who are fit and non-critical will be discharged, said SMMC.

   SMMC said the travel of SMMC’s medical specialists will be postponed for the coming 4 weeks. The arrival of incoming specialists will continue as per normal, before his or her arrival they will be screened, according to the release.

  The SMMC’s OMT received a lecture from a Viral Disease Expert, Gavin Macgregor-Skinner, on COVID-19 learnings. “Macgregor-Skinner is the Director of the Global Bio-risk Advisory Council at the Disaster Medicine Institute, Director of Strategic Partnerships in Disaster Medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre, Assistant Professor at Penn State University and a Zika Virus Subject Matter Expert. He was dispatched to Hong Kong and shared his learnings while at the frontline of a COVID-19 epidemic area,” said SMMC. “SMMC would like to have him provide further lectures and trainings to the various healthcare stakeholders in the near future.”

  The OMT held a video conference with management of hospitals on Curaçao and Aruba, including representatives of the Dutch Ministry of Health, ZVK BES, the Dutch Coast Guard and Military, according to the release. SMMC said situation updates were provided, best practices were shared and available resources on each island were discussed, as well as sourcing materials within the Dutch Kingdom.

  Information sessions for SMMC staff members are scheduled for Tuesday, March 17, and Wednesday, March 18, to provide an update and answer any questions staff might have. SMMC’s Microbiologist, Dr. Radjin Steingrover, will also be joining these sessions to relay information and address any concerns.

  “While there are no suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 on St. Maarten (Dutch side), SMMC would like to reiterate the steps to take if you or a family member shows any of the signs of COVID-19 which include fever, cough, and shortness of breath,” said Dr. Felix Holiday, SMMC’s Medical Director and Chairman of the Outbreak Management Team (OMT).

  “In case you develop these symptoms, it is of utmost importance that you first call your family doctor instead of going there or coming to SMMC in person. A healthcare worker from Collective Prevention Services (CPS) will come to you for testing in case of suspected COVID-19 infection. It is very important that, in case you develop the symptoms, you should home isolate and follow the instructions from your family doctor and CPS. You should also call your family doctor if you have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, or if you have travelled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID-19,” Dr. Holiday concluded.

  SMMC said in the interest of public health and in an effort to be proactive in minimizing the transmission of the virus, SMMC is asking visitors of patients currently admitted to SMMC to refrain from visiting the hospital if they are experiencing any symptoms which include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Persons visiting the hospital who do not have the above-mentioned symptoms are kindly asked to follow all instructions on proper hand hygiene and cough etiquette.

  SMMC also urges the public to call the Collective Prevention Services (CPS) hotline 914, if they have any questions or require additional information regarding COVID-19.

Source: The Daily Herald