Thursday 9 April, 2020

Coronavirus: 1 of 2 new Health City cases was ICU patient

Health City Cayman Islands has confirmed that one of two new positive COVID-19 individuals identified from samples sent by the tertiary care hospital was an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) patient. The other is a medical staff member of the facility. 

The announcement of the two new positive results was made on Monday, March 23 at a Cayman Islands Government press briefing.

Some 47 samples from Health City have been tested and are pending confirmation by the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA). In total, 43 were negative and four were positive.

A total of 78 samples from Health City have been submitted for testing to date, so there are currently 31 pending test results yet to be received.

Several patients in ICU were tested as a precaution, as they were being treated in the ICU during the same time period as the Cayman Islands' first COVID-19 positive patient prior to the hospital being aware that the man carried the virus.

Cayman's first COVID-19 patient, a 68-year-old cruise traveller, was an emergency patient being treated for cardiac arrest who arrived at the hospital on February 29. He later developed symptoms of COVID-19, was tested and found to be positive on March 12.

He subsequently passed away from complications of the virus and underlying health issues on March 14.

All other ICU patients tested returned negative results for COVID-19.

All medical staff members, their family members, patients and other individuals considered to be at risk for infection were immediately quarantined and tested for the virus following the first positive test result.  All tested individuals remain in quarantine until their test results are confirmed by CARPHA.

Since the tests were performed for the first time in the Cayman Islands, the samples were sent to CARPHA as a quality control measure, and confirmation of the initial results is expected within a few days.

Dr Binoy Chattuparambil, Clinical Director of Health City Cayman Islands hastened to reassure patients that containment measures were swift and stringent.

“We are of course disappointed that one of the ICU patients being treated at the same time as the first COVID-19 positive patient has also returned positive results. The patient has been quarantined since March 12 and has been treated in medical isolation receiving the highest level of care. Thus far, the patient is doing well.” he said.

Dr Chattuparambil continued, “In light of the two new positive results, we have had many patient enquiries as to the level of their potential exposure to the virus which causes COVID-19. Please rest assured that all containment measures have been implemented, and we have acted responsibly in suppressing the spread of this virus from the initial cruise patient. We are a tertiary care facility that regularly performs at the highest of standards, as is supported by our accreditation by Joint Commission International (JCI). We have infection control experts on our team, and we have been supported, advised and praised in our actions to contain this virus by Public Health Cayman and Public Health England.”

He referred to the overall numbers and transmission rate, saying, “Additionally, the infection rate remains low with just four out of 47 samples tested being positive. And we are secure in the knowledge that we took the appropriate and correct steps to contain the virus very early on, which is actually still borne out by the test results thus far.”

He further explained that any person who has had potential infectious contact with a quarantined individual at Health City has already been notified and has been followed up with by the Public Health Department for evaluation and potential testing. He reiterated that if an individual has not been contacted, that they are not at risk from infection from the initial COVID-19 positive patient at Health City.

The hospital quarantined and tested all staff members, their families and other individuals who were considered to be at direct risk for exposure to the COVID-19 virus. The level of contact with the patient determined the risk level. Additionally, any of those individuals who displayed flu-like symptoms were included in the testing group.

The four individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 will remain in quarantine for 14 days, as is the standard for these cases as confirmed by Public Health Cayman Islands and Public Health England. They will have confirmatory clearance tests conducted at the conclusion of this period, and will not be released from quarantine unless the test results are clear.

Dr Chattuparambil confirmed that the hospital remains committed to the containment of the virus, and is continuing its vigilance.

“Please rest assured that we are abiding by the highest standards of infection control and have also taken expert advice on the containment of COVID-19. However, there are certainly other potential sources of COVID-19 in the wider Cayman Islands community, and I am urging everyone to follow standard precautionary measures against contracting the virus, including staying at home, regular hand-washing and practising good respiratory hygiene,” he said.

Dr Chattuparambil advised that Health City is continuing to work closely with Cayman Islands Government health officials on regular updates regarding the local COVID-19 situation and will issue further updates as soon as any new information is available.

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