‘Junior doctors’ among positive COVID-19 cases at GPHC

--Health Minister, CEO say patient care not constrained

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The Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) is now battling an outbreak of COVID-19 among staff members even as it is still consumed by investigations into the New Year’s day fire that ripped through its heart test laboratory.

Health Minister Dr. Frank Anthony confirmed on Tuesday that several employees tested positive but he could not provide figures. He, however, noted that most of the infected personnel are asymptomatic (not displaying any of the common symptoms) or mildly symptomatic. And, he highlighted that the ministry expects that many of these infected individuals will recover and return to work shortly.

“We have been monitoring and we have taken mitigation measures,” Dr. Anthony said during his daily COVID-19 update.

He later assured members of the public that the COVID-19 outbreak has no “big impact so far on service delivery” but warned that more infections may constrain the hospital’s services.

Minister of Health, Dr. Frank Anthony

The GPHC’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Robbie Rambarram, in an invited comment on Tuesday, told the News Room that “quite a few” staff members tested positive but he could not state how many individuals were infected.

He, however, noted that many of the personnel infected were “junior doctors” and many of the infected individuals were drawn from just two departments.

As such, Rambarran explained that the hospital has been able to craft a plan for continued service delivery to the hundreds of patients who visit daily.

“At this point in time, we have not taken any decision on the reduction of any elective surgeries or clinic appointments because it is not the entire hospital,” the CEO highlighted.

And he said that many of the senior members of staff, including senior doctors, have stepped up to help the hospital manage its patient load. Rambarran emphasised that the hospital cannot stop patients from visiting.

The CEO’s comments came even as he is integrally involved in the ongoing investigations into the recent fire at the hospital.

Meanwhile, the Department of Public Information (DPI) reported that on Sunday, the Health Minister met with the senior management staff of GPHC to discuss additional measures to be taken to protect both patients and staff from the Omicron variant.

No information was provided on what those additional measures are.

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