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(PRESS RELEASE) – The COVID-19 Pandemic is wreaking havoc in countries around the world, crashing advanced health systems, while overloading others and stretching vital resources thin.
As St. Lucia gears up for the war on COVID-19 management and staff of the Victoria Hospital are strategizing for the complete transitioning to the Owen King EU Hospital from Wednesday March 25th to 27th.
A face lift of the prominent outer staircase and front wall at the new hospital courtesy Harris Paints who sponsored the trowel tex and Make It Happen Foundation who absorbing the labour cost was a clear indication that corporate St. Lucia is ‘All In’ with the transitioning of the Victoria Hospital (VH) to the Owen King EU Hospital (OKEUH).
With the global outbreak of COVID-19 threatening the economic, social, health and overall well-being of countries the government of St. Lucia took a policy decision to accelerate the move to OKEUH while reserving the Victoria Hospital as a respiratory hospital.
Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Department of Health and Wellness, Jenny Daniel, said with the government dedicating 2020 as the year of health in St. Lucia, this week will be absolutely historic for the health sector and all St. Lucians.
“While we do not want to take away from the serious focus of COVID-19, transitioning to a new hospital is a very rear occurrence and therefore citizens of this country will be part of a significant and special moment in the countries national development. As a resilient people the Department of Health urges everyone to join in its efforts to make this transition a reality.”
Executive Director at Victoria Hospital, Nancy Francis, outlined that intensive training and preparatory activities continued with all stakeholders including staff, the St. Lucia Fire Service, the Royal St. Lucia Police Force, NEMO and other government agencies. She called on St. Lucians to play their part in the smooth transitioning of the hospital by first getting their information from only official sources.
“Two, adhere to the directives given by the move team. Three, adhere to the traffic control measures that will be implemented by the Royal St. Lucia Police Force. Four, the resources of the state will be heavily involved in the transitioning and COVID-19 activities, therefore we expect you to discuss within the family how emergency situations will be managed. Five, persons are advised to take extra care to their health particularly during the day of the move from VH to OKEUH to avoid or minimize disruption in our plans.”
Medical Director at the Victoria Hospital, Dr. Alisha Eugene-Ford said to support transitioning efforts, the Castries Wellness Centre will operate extended hours from 8am to 6pm from March 23rd to 30th except on March 27th when hours will be extended to 8pm. This is to manage non-emergency cases to facilitate the ramping down of services at the Victoria Hospital.
“The Gros Islet Polyclinic will remain opened from 8am to midnight from Monday March 23rd 2020 to Monday March 30th 2020 and this would include the weekend. Lab, x-ray, and pharmacy services will remain available at the Gros Islet Polyclinic during this period.”
St. Jude Hospital will assist with the management of emergency cases from March 23rd to 29th. For the protection of patients and staff from COVID-19, Dr. Eugene-Ford stated that children below the age of 10 and adults above age 60 should not visit the hospital during this period. Visiting hours will continue from 6am-7am, 12pm-1pm however visiting hours will be curtailed to one hour in the evenings from 5pm-6pm.
“We are also asking to limit to two visitors per patient that is admitted and we are encouraging persons to wash and sanitize their hands before and after visiting the patients and to continue to observe cough etiquette.”
As staff and patients gear up for this historic move from VH to OKEU hospital, citizens are asked to pray for the move team and the smooth and safe transitioning of all patients to the new facility.