(CMC) – Nine doctors at the Mount St John’s Medical Centre (MSJMC) in Antigua, have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, putting a strain on the hospital’s already stretched resources.
A statement issued by the MSJMC on Wednesday disclosed that seven of the physicians are recuperating well at home while the other two are receiving treatment at the Infectious Disease Centre, “out of an abundance of caution”.
“The risk to our health-care workers is one of the great vulnerabilities of our health-care system in a pandemic like this. As medical director, whose team includes these physicians, I know they understand the risks of our calling. Our thoughts and prayers for a full and speedy recovery are with each of them and their families,” said Dr Albert Duncan, MSJMC Medical Director.
He added: “The growth we are seeing in COVID-19 cases in the country is placing an ever-greater strain on our hospital. This has very real consequences for our team.”
The hospital said it was acutely aware of the COVID-19 risk to health care workers, especially if they are exposed to a high volume of sick patients, such as in the Emergency Department, or respiratory secretions such as in the Intensive Care Unit.
MSJMC said it has repeatedly warned of the threat posed by COVID-19 to its employees and had taken several measures to limit the spread of the virus.
“The last thing any hospital wants is for its workforce to be exposed and the workforce to become ill. Our multidisciplinary care teams can’t physically distance themselves from the patients they treat and that increases both the risks and the fear that we all have of losing a colleague,” Duncan said.
“So, of course, they are stepping up and answering the call for help, but they are not superheroes or angels: they are women and men who have children and families and friends and responsibilities. And, as I’ve said before, if you want to honour them; wear a mask, avoid large gatherings. Follow the safety guidelines we’ve been shouting from the rooftops since this all started.”
MSJMC also encouraged all eligible residents to get the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available.