Doctors are asking the population to get vaccinated as unvaccinated patients take up much of the country’s intensive care unit (ICU) capacity.
This is what Dr. Maryam Abdool-Richards, speaking at a COVID-19 press conference Wednesday, said the department had seen an increase in patients in need of critical care over the past 23 days, according to principal medical officer institutions.
Dr. Abdool-Richards said that of the 52 intensive care beds in Trinidad, 46 were used by unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated patients.
“In the intensive care units. This morning (Wednesday) 52 beds out of a total of 60 beds in Trinidad are in operation and activated. In Tobago, two out of five beds are currently occupied. We continue to see a significant percentage of unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated people in need of intensive care, and of the 52 people in tt who are in intensive care this morning, 46 of them, that’s 92 percent, are not fully vaccinated. ” She said.
On Wednesday morning, she said the country crossed hospital occupancy thresholds and peaked at 427 patients, the highest in 113 days.
“This morning we have now crossed another threshold. From June 28th until yesterday there were fewer than 400 patients per day in the parallel healthcare system. Yesterday this number of 400 was exceeded, there were 405 and this morning 427 people in the parallel health facilities. It also means that in the last few days our utilization and that means our total utilization, which was consistently below 40 percent for 113 days, was exceeded. This morning we have an overall occupancy rate of 47 percent and in Trinidad we are 49 percent while in Tobago we are 43 percent, “she said.
In addition, she said there were 52 more patients waiting to be transferred to various Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments across the country by Wednesday morning. Of those 52, she said, seven required intensive care treatment.
“That morning at 8:00 am, 52 people were waiting to be moved from the accident and emergency rooms of the traditional regional health authorities. This is a significant increase in numbers over the past week. Of these 52 people, seven are cared for in the event of accidents and emergencies at intensive care unit level. “
“Patients continue to present themselves to the accident and emergency in a severe and critical condition. So when the ambulance is contacted to pick these people up, they need to be put on oxygen and upon arrival at the accident and emergency room they need to start managing the intensive care unit. Of the seven currently being treated in the intensive care unit, all seven are not fully vaccinated. This is a consistent trend that we have seen over the past 23 days as it has seen the increased number of people accessing the A&E, ”she said.
To address this, she said, the ministry has taken several initiatives to increase treatment capacity. But frontline doctors, she said, begged the population to get vaccinated.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the Department of Health, the RHA teams and our frontline doctors have done our best to save lives. We speak to our front line doctors every morning, they appeal to you to take advantage of the Ministry’s vaccination offer. “
“We are doing everything in our power to meet the increased demand for intensive care beds. We have increased capacity in the Accident and Emergency Department to treat patients who arrive and are too unstable to be moved, even when a bed is available. We have increased the number of ambulances per shift. The actual number of ambulances deployed on the shift. We have increased ICU bed capacity at the Couva Multi-Training Facility, Point Fortin Hospital and St. James Medical Complex. We added beds at the ward level and reactivated the field hospital from the Port of Spain Hospital at the North-West Regional Health Authority. We’re doing our best, but if we continue this trend, the resources will soon expand, ”said Richards.