The Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital’s new Covid-19 testing centre will help to separate those who may have the virus from others visiting the hospital, says Dr Anita Parbhoo, the hospital’s medical manager.
The triage-and-testing facility, provided by the provincial Department of Health, was opened on Wednesday June 3.
“If health-care workers at the main hospital receive patients that are showing symptoms of Covid-19, they will be sent to the triage-and- testing tent for further testing,” she said.
Staff would then decide whether to refer the patient to the hospital’s Covid-19 ward.
Dr Heloise Buys, the hospital’s head of ambulatory and emergency services, will be in charge of testing at the facility.
“This facility will allow us to do Covid-19 testing and ensure that the children in the main hospital can be treated for other medical procedures without any risks to the virus,” she said.
The centre has donning and doffing stations for personal protective equipment; an automatic sanitiser dispenser; a vital sign-monitor to check the patient’s blood pressure, pulse and oxygen-in-the blood levels; and a waiting area.
Premier Alan Winde, who was at the official opening of the facility, said the province’s Covid-19 testing centres were feeling the pressure.
Fourteen more testing-and-triage centres were due to open in the city and 20 in rural areas, he said.
“I appreciate all the work done by front-line health workers who are taking up this fight to care for our citizens,” he said.
To deal with the testing backlog, people over 55 with underlying health conditions would take priority for testing, he said.
“We will focus on people at old age homes at risk in order to get the best use of the beds available.”
The fit and healthy should rather try to self isolate at home for 14 days instead of going for a test and possibly putting someone else at risk, he said.
Eighty-seven Red Cross hospital staff have tested positive for Covid-19, of which 40 have already returned to work. Fifty-three hospital patients have tested positive for the virus.
“The fear that staff feel is whether they are going to pick up Covid-19 and take it home, though we do try to support our staff where possible,” Dr Parbhoo said.