COVID-19 patients bemoan conditions at Diamond Isolation Unit

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By Bibi Khatoon

COVID-19 patients at the Diamond Isolation Unit on the East Bank of Demerara (EBD) have again raised concerns about the deplorable conditions they are forced to endure at the facility.

“…the condition of the beds, the sleeping facilities and everything, it is very bad. Right now I got all my flask and cup and everything on the ground. They don’t have any shelf so you can put your things properly.

“Everything is on the ground and I getting bacteria,” one patient told the News Room on the condition of anonymity for fear of being victimized.

According to the COVID-19 patient, the washroom facilities are in a deplorable condition while the mops and dustpans which are available to cleaners need replacing.

“When you talk, [some of] the doctors are being a little bit hostile with you,” he added.

He said the Government needs to provide the dietary needs of the patients if they are required to undergo mandatory isolation.

The food served to the COVID-19 patients

“…the food does come very early in the morning, when they ready to distribute the food to the patient, the food spoil.

“They come until 11am and so…people are crying, people are pleading, you’re in here and don’t get no medication or treatment to boost people,” he noted.

Meanwhile, another patient, Pradesh Thakram told the News Room Monday that “the food what they’re giving us here is no good.”

Thakram said that he has been at the Unit for over two months and “in the morning we get bread and fried egg, sometimes bread with nut-butter and bread and butter and they bringing us tea with no sugar.”

The father of two was admitted to the facility on March 16, just five days after his mother-in-law –Guyana’s first COVID-19 case –died from the disease.

After over 60 days and several tests, he received a negative result on Monday and is hopeful of being tested negative a second time so that he can return home to his family.

When contacted Monday, Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Karen Gordon-Boyle told the News Room that the issue of the food quality was previously raised and this was addressed.

“They had changed the cook and a committee was set up to ensure the quality of food was good [and is] a balanced diet but in terms of timing of the food I don’t know what she situation is,” she said.

Dr Gordon-Boyle urged that the News Room make contact with the head of the Diamond facility but efforts to contact the doctor proved futile.

The Diamond facility caters to the majority of Guyana’s COVID-19 patients. Only severe cases are taken to the Georgetown Public Hospital.

One of the major concerns of patients at Diamond is possible re-infection from new patients who are taken to the facility and placed in the same rooms.

The situation escalated on Saturday when a patient decided to barricade himself in his room to prevent doctors from placing a new patient in the same living quarter.

Meanwhile, the patients also spoke of issues with accessibility to water. In a statement on Monday afternoon, the Guyana Water Incorporated said there is no problem with the supply of water to this facility.

If there are indeed water disruptions at this location, then it is more than likely an internal plumbing issue and should, therefore, be addressed by the Ministry of Public Health, GWI said.

As of May 24, Guyana recorded 135 cases of COVID-19, including 10 deaths.

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