SMMC expands COVID care capacity to deal with surge

      SMMC expands COVID care  capacity to deal with surge

SMMC Medical Container Park (MCP).


CAY HILL--As numbers of positive COVID-19 cases continue to rise at a rapid rate, so has the number of persons who are hospitalised due to complications.

  The St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) recently provided The Daily Herald with an update on the current COVID care capacity of the hospital.

  In April, as the country experienced the first wave of COVID-19 cases, SMMC provisioned its COVID care facilities, the Mobile Medical Pavilion (MMP) and the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) tent, at the southern side of the Raoul Illidge Sports Complex.

  Presently, the COVID care facilities are being converted into a medical container park (MCP). The MCP will be erected at the same location where the present MMP and ICU tent are located. This MCP will have 16 beds, of which four are ICU beds, each with ventilator capability.

  The hospital said it aimed to keep all COVID care outside of the hospital and centralised at the MCP. To deal with the surge of COVID patients, SMMC has allocated an additional six ICU beds and eight medium-care beds, all of which are in isolation. This brings the total COVID care capacity to 10 ICU beds and 24 medium-care beds.

  “The ICU section of the MCP is projected to be ready to receive patients by the end of this week; the medium-care section will follow shortly thereafter,” said a representative of SMMC.

  In the meantime, SMMC has increased the isolation capacity inside the hospital, where patients fit for discharge have been sent home. Non-COVID patients have been relocated to other inpatient wards to make additional room and to downscale non-essential services as a means to accommodate an increase in COVID admissions.

  As the country prepares for the peak of the hurricane season, the hospital said it is currently busy making the necessary preparations for the COVID care facilities.

  In an effort to make the COVID care facilities storm-resilient, the medically outfitted containers (Hospitainers) will be welded together and securely anchored to a solid concrete foundation.

  The hospital said patients would not be kept in the MCP once a storm posed a direct threat to St. Maarten. These patients will be transported to SMMC. “In case of storm threat, regular patients may be evacuated to an approved nearby evacuation facility, or airlifted to a hospital within the Dutch Kingdom if needed,” the hospital’s representative explained.

The Daily Herald

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