Hospital confirms 9 doctors infected with COVID-19

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Dr Duncan

Statement on Behalf of Mount St. John’s Medical Centre (MSJMC):

St. John’s, Antigua, March 3, 2021 – Mount St. John’s Medical Centre (MSJMC) confirms that there are nine (9) hospital physicians infected with COVID-19 virus.

“The risk to our health-care workers is one of the great vulnerabilities of our health-care system in a pandemic like this,” said Dr. Albert Duncan, MSJMC Medical Director. 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 (9) physicians infected, are recuperating well at home. Out of an abundance of caution, two (2) 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.”

MSJMC was acutely aware of the COVID-19 risk to health care 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. Any employee who experiences symptoms is instructed to report those symptoms to MSJMC Infectious Disease/Employee Health Division so they can be evaluated and tested for COVID-19 if needed. Employees are not allowed to work if they have symptoms, and they must be cleared by the Infectious Disease/Employee Health Division before returning to work.

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 honor them; wear a mask, avoid large gatherings, follow the safety guidelines we’ve been shouting from the rooftops since this all started.”

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 encourage eligible family members and friends to join them in getting the vaccine.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. This is sad and troubling news. Speedy recovery to all affected.

    I’m deeply concerned to read staff are only tested if they show symptoms.
    Doctors & medical teams including physio’s, radiologists etc. In UK are rapid tested twice a week as standard, more if someone they work with develops covid. It’s not failsafe but it is way more reassuring for a hospital team than just testing if someone is symptomatic.

    Does MSJMC have access to sufficient rapid tests to instigate something similar?

    We are already short of medical personnel, the PM was going to ask Cuba for assistance.a couple of weeks ago…has anything come of that? Have the authorities sought additional trained medical personnel from elsewhere?

    This is a crisis because the hospital or IDC could buckle any day now.

    • hmm, if you are correct, why is this (Oxford University hospital)UK hospital pointing out you are wrong (re UK staff getting tested every two weeks)?The FAQ points out asymptomatic testing is an option for staff. My research reveals what you speak of (however weekly ) is happening as part of a pilot program that involved a few medical facilities

      8 Feb 2021: “Asymptomatic testing for OUH staff currently working on OUH hospital sites
      If you do not have symptoms but still want to be tested, you can apply via the voluntary staff testing programme which is accessible from the Trust intranet.

      If you do not have access to the Trust intranet from home you can set up a virtual desktop on your own PC or device – instructions are here.

      This programme is for staff who do not have symptoms of COVID-19 and are currently working on OUH hospital sites.

      It is not for staff who are working at home or shielding. More information is available on the FAQ section of the website.

      This programme is voluntary and there is no obligation to be tested if you are asymptomatic.

      Please do not apply for this test if you have symptoms of COVID-19 – please apply for symptomatic testing as outlined above.

  2. Hopefully additional help from our comrades in Cuba is on the way. Socialist solidarity is a good thing.

  3. Conrad the Red: Aren’t you tired of depending on others for the survival of your citizens.Do you believe you push a button.The Cuban medical teams would just appear in Antigua.We need to start fighting our own internal battles.Not depend on outside forces to do it for us at all times.We are supposed to be better and smarter than that.At least that is what I thought.

  4. Unfortunately this country doesn’t have any leaders, only people in it for creative self enrichment.

    Where are Nigel Christian’s murderers? In this small country it’s an embarrassment they can’t find them. This stinks of nefarious people at the top involved.
    Where are Nigel Christian’s murderers? In this small country it’s an embarrassment they can’t find them. This stinks of nefarious people at the top involved.
    Where are Nigel Christian’s murderers? In this small country it’s an embarrassment they can’t find them. This stinks of nefarious people at the top involved.

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