The 70 Trinidad and Tobago nationals who are stranded in Suriname are expected to be quarantined at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Debe/Penal Campus when they return to the country today, Friday.
The Ministry of Health’s Principal Medical Officer of Institutions Dr. Maryam Richards confirmed the news, stating that the facility at Debe is comfortable to house the returning patients.
“We have plans to house the Trinidadians who are based in Suriname at the UWI Debe/Penal Campus. That facility can house up to 72 persons in individual rooms. I visited the facility yesterday (Tuesday)and all was in place to ensure that the Trinidadians who will be returning will be comfortable and receive the appropriate levels of care.”
The facility is one of the parallel health care system which the Ministry of Health has implemented to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. It provides specialised care for persons with Covid-19.
Dr. Richards said the Couva Facility and other retrofitted health facilities, hospitals stepdown facilities are used to operationalise the alternative health care system, since the first patient with a suspected case of the virus was sent to the Caura Hospital for treatment on March 12.
She said there are 922 beds, 75 in Tobago, available across 12 facilities. They offer four levels of care:
- Couva Facility and Augustus Long Hospital serve severe and critical patients
- Caura Hospital, Princess Elizabeth Centre, Arima General Hospital and Scarborough General Hospital offer intermediate level care
Stepdown facilities such as Home of Football, Couva and the Sangre Grande Centre (Brooklyn) offer care to patients, after being hospitalized, to be reintegrated back into their homes. Staff and returning nationals will be placed at the Tacarigua Centre, UWI Debe/Penal Campus and Balandra.
Dr. Richards said some of the benefits of the parallel health care systems include a decreased burden on the traditional healthcare system; a reduction in the transmission of the disease; a reduction in resource shortages and standardization of care.
The alternative healthcare system is managed by the Ministry of Health with support from the Ministry of National Security, the Ministry of Communications, the Ministry of Public Utilities and the Ministry of Local Government.