‘COVID-19 hospital’ almost complete

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Retrofitting of the Lilliendall, East Coast Demerara facility that once operated as the Ocean View Hotel will soon be completed to serve as the new Infectious Diseases Hospital.

The newly overhauled facility will in coming weeks serve all categories of COVID-19 patients but in the future will be well-positioned to control other respiratory and multi-resistance forms of infections.

Health officials from the Government along with other stakeholders toured the revamped facility on Monday and were highly commendable of the transformation.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Shamdeo Persaud told reporters that the facility “will be ready for operation shortly.”

No other timelines were given.

Inside the new Infectious Diseases Hospital [Photo: Ministry of Public Health/June 29, 2020]
He said the initial concept is to centralize the care services with regards to Coronavirus and once the world conquers the pandemic then the facility will look to handle any infectious disease accordingly.

Dr Persaud explained that there are three levels of care at the facility.

“Here in this facility the plan is to handle at least three categories of persons, those who are infected and suffering from signs and symptoms, those who are asymptomatic and those who need to be in quarantine,” he explained.

Dr Persaud said there is strict compliance with standard to control the spread of infectious diseases and noted that the environment is also well suited, in that, it is spacious and also located in a position where there is minimal exposure.

He stressed that the need for such a hospital goes beyond COVID-19.

Even with the building not yet 100% complete, some nine COVID-19 patients were weeks ago transferred to the facility and were housed there in an open flat for quarantine and treatment.

The patients were subsequently taken back to the Diamond isolation facility on the East Bank of Demerara.

The cost for retrofitting the facility was pegged at GY $1 billion.

The Government has come in for criticism with some persons not only saying that the US$5 million seem too much to revamp the facility but that it would have also been better spent to upgrade and expand existing health facilities.

Under the Acquisition of Lands for Public Purpose Act, the Government has signed an order to take full ownership of Ocean View Hotel back in April.

Works to transform the building had commenced prior to that. The acquisition cost is still unknown.

The new Infectious Diseases Hospital is almost complete [Photo: Ministry of Public Health/June 29, 2020]

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