Most of the nine doctors on staff at the Mount St. John’s Medical Centre (MSJMC) have since recovered, although they have not yet returned to active duty.
That is the update provided by Medical Director at MSJMC, Dr. Albert Duncan, who reported that the health institution has had to find ways to cope with the shortage created by their illness.
“The risk to our healthcare workers is one of the great vulnerabilities of our healthcare system in a pandemic like this,” said Dr. Duncan. “As Medical Director, whose team includes these physicians, I know they understand the risks of our calling. Our thoughts and prayers for a full and speedy recovery are with each of them and their families.”
Seven out of the nine physicians infected are recuperating well at home. Out of an abundance of caution, two of the physicians are currently at the Infectious Disease Centre (IDC) receiving treatment.
“The growth we are seeing in COVID-19 cases in the country is placing an ever-greater strain on our hospital,” said Dr. Duncan. “This has very real consequences for our team.”
The MSJMC was acutely aware of the COVID-19 risk to healthcare workers. This is a global concern – the unprecedented risks they continue to face during this pandemic. Health workers have a markedly higher risk of becoming infected with COVID-19, especially if they are exposed to a high volume of sick patients (such as in the Emergency Department (ED)) or respiratory secretions (such as in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU)).
“Because of this, we work closely with health authorities and our infectious disease specialists to ensure the appropriate policies and procedures are in place to mitigate risk.
“MSJMC has repeatedly warned of the threat posed by COVID-19 to our employees and have taken several measures to limit the spread of the virus. We are committed to providing safe, high-quality care for our communities as well as protecting our patients and employees. Currently, testing is prioritized for patients and employees who show symptoms of COVID-19,” a statement from the hospital said.
The Medical Director added, “The last thing any hospital wants is for its workforce to be exposed and the workforce to become ill. Our multidisciplinary care teams can’t physically distance themselves from the patients they treat and that increases both the risks and the fear that we all have of losing a colleague.
“So, of course, they are stepping up and answering the call for help, but they are not superheroes or angels: they are women and men who have children and families and friends and responsibilities – And as I’ve said before, if you want to honour them, wear a mask, avoid large gatherings, follow the safety guidelines we’ve been shouting from the rooftops since this all started.”
The MSJMC urges the public to remain vigilant. The COVID-19 virus is dangerous and its impact is still unfolding. The hospital encourages all eligible residents to get the COVID-19 vaccine when it is available and encourages eligible family members and friends to join them in getting the vaccine.
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