The coronavirus-related update in today’s paper provided by St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) was an eye-opener. Eighteen COVID-19 patients of whom seven are in intensive care may not seem like that much, but it’s about all the country’s only, relatively small hospital can responsibly handle without jeopardising other care.
Already, while outpatient appointments and consultations continue as scheduled, non-urgent admissions and surgery remain temporarily halted, with potential long-term consequences. Examples given were hip replacements and fibroid removal.
Postponing so-called elective procedures is necessary because of having to reallocate staff to deal with the current highly-contagious Delta variant wave. For the persons involved, however, it often means lingering uncertainty regarding their future health and wellbeing.
SMMC’s Medical Director and Head of the Outbreak Management Team Dr. Felix Holiday joined many others in calling on people ages 12 and older to get vaccinated and help stem the tide. The son-of-the-soil doctor made it clear that doing so will not only contain the spread, but also prevent deaths.
With daily infection numbers in double digits for some time and 51 fatalities until now, this continues to be a precarious situation requiring great caution from everyone, including children – especially on an island where medical capacity is limited, so lives are obviously at stake in more ways than one.