SMMC making COVID-19 care facility storm-resilient | THE DAILY HERALD

One of the medical containers (Hospitainers) donated by the Dutch Ministry of Health, which will be used in the storm-resilient COVID-19 medical container park.


CAY HILL–St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) has made arrangements for its COVID-19 care facilities (the Mobile Medical Pavilion and the intensive care unit (ICU) tent) to be made more storm-resilient in an effort to weather any possible storms.

  “Both COVID care facilities will be transformed into a storm-resilient medical container park in which special medically-outfitted containers (so-called Hospitainers) donated by the Dutch Ministry of Health will be welded together and securely anchored to a solid concrete foundation,” SMMC said in a press release on Monday.

  Each container is outfitted with air-conditioning units and the cluster of containers will be covered by one roof as additional temperature control.

  According to SMMC, the project is scheduled to be finalised before the peak of the 2020 hurricane season and the hospital may use the donated medical containers for an extended period beyond the present hurricane season, if needed.

  SMMC Medical Director Dr. Felix Holiday said, “In the first phase of the COVID pandemic, SMMC had to act swiftly to get additional COVID care facilities realised in order to deal with the rapidly increasing number of admitted COVID patients.

  “Thanks to our very hard-working and dedicated team and with the help of the government of St. Maarten, the Dutch government and the World Bank, we got that accomplished in record-breaking time. At this point, whereby our COVID care capacity is increased and with the local COVID situation stabilised, we are in a much better position to deal with another surge and as such we have entered the next phase, which is making our COVID care facilities more storm-resilient.

  “This is not only with the present hurricane season in mind, but also taking into account that we do not know for how long we will need the extra capacity, as COVID could be around for the foreseeable future.”

  The COVID medical container park will have 16 beds. Four are ICU beds which include having dedicated ventilator capability.

  SMMC said it aims to keep all COVID care outside of the hospital, but in case of a surge in admissions, also has COVID capacity inside SMMC with six ICU beds and another eight medium-care beds, all of which are in isolation.

  No patients will be kept inside the medical containers when a storm poses a direct threat to St. Maarten and will be evacuated to a safe location.

  “The COVID medical container park will be erected at the same location as where the present Mobile Medical Pavilion and ICU tent are located, which is opposite SMMC at the southern side of Raoul Illidge Sports Complex,” said the release.

  “In the event of a surge, a team of volunteer medical professionals are on standby for the foreseeable future to assist SMMC’s team of doctors and nurses with the care and treatment of COVID patients.

  “The project to make the COVID care facilities more storm-resilient is made possible in part by funds from the St. Maarten Recovery, Reconstruction and Resilience Trust Fund that is funded by the Netherlands and managed by the World Bank, for which SMMC expresses its gratitude.”

Source: The Daily Herald