Cayman’s first COVID-19 case causes HCCI to close

| 13/03/2020 | 105 Comments
Cayman News Service
Health City Cayman Islands (HCCI)

(CNS): Health City Cayman Islands is closing down for two weeks because some of its staff who treated a patient who tested positive for COVID-19 are now feeling unwell. HCCI has said that for the next two weeks all medical and hospital staff that came into contact with this patient, as well as his wife, will be tested and quarantined.

In a release from the East End hospital this morning, HCCI Clinical Director Dr Binoy Chattuparambil said that HCCI “is taking the extremely cautious measure of temporarily closing services and not accepting any new patients for approximately two weeks. This decision was taken to ensure the safety and well-being of our patients, the community and our staff.”

HCCI said that over 30 medical professionals and staff members who would have come into contact with the patient are being quarantined and tested for the virus. However, the number of staff members he came into contact with when he was first admitted was limited as he was being treated in the Intensive Care Unit, which is run according to strict infection control guidelines for patients who are critically ill.

Dr Chattuparambil assured the public that all necessary precautions to contain the virus had been put in place within the facility and they were working closely with the Ministry of Health and public health officials to contain the COVID-19 virus in the Cayman Islands.

Commenting on the quarantining of medical staff, he said, “We have made these difficult decisions to ensure that we stay true to our promise of health and safety to our patients and staff, as well as the surrounding community. Our team will be contacting patients with scheduled treatment and procedures to organise and ensure continuity of care.” 

Explaining the sequence of events, HCCI said that the 68-year-old man who later became the Cayman Islands’ first COVID-19 case, embarked on his cruise on February 25 and arrived in the Cayman Islands on February 29.

He was admitted to Health City in critical condition for lifesaving cardiac treatment. On the way to the Cayman Islands the patient, who has a prior medical history of cardiac issues, had two cardiac arrests and was resuscitated. 

On arrival in George Town, he was rushed by ambulance to Health City, where he underwent cardiac treatment, and began his recovery with no COVID-19 symptoms.

“After six days of his primary treatment, he developed a dry cough. Although he had no other COVID-19 symptoms, such as other flu-like complaints or a fever, based on World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines, a sample was taken and sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) for testing,” HCCI said.

The sample was sent for testing on Monday, 9 March, and came back as positive on Thursday, 12 March.

Commenting on the situation HSA Chief Medical Officer Dr John Lee said “We must assume that staff and patients at Health City may have been exposed to COVID and in order to protect further spread, movements to and from the hospital need to stop straight away.”

Dr Lee urged members of the public who have symptoms of difficulty breathing, fever or cough, to isolate themselves and then to contact the flu hotline

Dr Chattuparambil urged the public to take all necessary precautions against contracting the coronavirus. The risk can be reduced by implementing personal protective measures, such as frequent hand washing, covering nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, avoiding close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory illnesses and avoiding large social gatherings

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Category: Health, health and safety

Comments (105)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I lost total respect for this hospital AND I WILL NEVER GO THERE VOLUNTARILY.

    What a gross, irresponsible, political correctness drenched DANGEROUS overreaction.

    Are you telling me that god forbid should a family get into an accident in east end and have critically injured persons, some bureaucrat at that hospital will tell them, “Sorry! No can do! No ambulance or treatment for you, call George Town!, We have people with the flu that have a 1% chance of death of they are over 60!”

    People can have a >> 100% << chance of dying with no urgent medical care!!!

    Are you freaking kidding me? This is a _HOSPITAL_ !!!

    CNS: HCCI does not have an A&E unit. They are not set up to deal with accident victims or that kind of emergency, which is why at any time, not just now, if there is an accident in East End, the victims are taken to GT. However, when the current crisis is over and if you have something wrong with you that they are set up to deal with, such as heart disease, you are free to refuse to go to make a point. Good luck with that.

  2. pluginaccount says:

    I truly hope those impacted get well and get the care that they need.

  3. Anonymous says:

    It could have started anywhere regardless of all your efforts. It is not like you want to stop a herd of elephants from entering your island.

    Blaming is counterproductive at this point. You might need an emergency cardiac help some day.

  4. Anonymous says:

    What a brilliant idea to allow a potential COVID -19 Italian patient to remain in one of three hospitals we have in Cayman. Now we are down to two hospitals. What happens now if someone has any heart issues? Where do they go?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Obviously, Health City is not Cornavirus ready. I hope that the other hospitals are in a better position.

  6. fetefone says:

    God is punishing us for failing to legalize same-sex marriage. This is what happens when you fail to treat all people with dignity!

  7. Anonymous says:

    What a mess HCCI has made of this first case! The patient was from ITALY. . . Hello, all you well-trained and special doctors out east. . .ITALY! And you never took FULL precautions to protect your staff against a possible Covid-19 infection? Now your staff members have had to be isolated and you’ve had to close your facility. Totally, TOTALLY unprofessional and irresponsible behavior. What type of hospital are you?
    It’s clear, for the nest 2-3 weeks a totally inert one. HCCI you have failed a basic test What’s the use of your hospital being here if you have to close after the first case of CovId-19? You have put patients lives at risk with this unacceptable misstep. Pathetic!

    FURTHERMORE, did I not see the primary doctor at HCCI who treated this patient sitting cough distance away from the CMO of HSA and the Premier no less at a press conference. Are you kidding me? Nice photo op that has placed the two most important people on the this critical time at risk. Why was not this doctor quarantined? What a Punch and Judy show. Shame. Sad.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Doctors are reporting that some survivors of Corona Virus have remain with impaired lung function. It seems that for some people this just doesn’t go away.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Wonder what about the ambulance staff that took him to health city? Pray there’re ok😁😷

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m sure the HSA is right on that.
      Quarantine….not likely. Wait until the have spread it all over first.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Cayman had 246 hospital beds. Now we have 135. I hope they’re big ones. If 40% of the population gets this and 15% of them need hospital care that’s 4,500 people, or 33 people to each bed.

    • Anonymous says:

      They would need to be hooked to ICUs and have healthy and robust nurses and doctors. How many ICUs and extra staff Cayman hospitals have.

      • Anonymous says:

        …and how many are being readied for the peak in about 3 to 4 months (judging by UK govt expectations)?

    • Anonymous says:

      Grand Cayman has 2 Hospitals.
      The private one closed itself.
      Yet you allow Tourists to arrive daily, by the droves on weekends.
      Makes sense…

    • Anonymous says:

      The answer is stay home and self treat your symptoms. I believe that is the message putout by the HSA.

    • Anonymous says:

      Need to be prepared to take over a number of hotels and convert to temporary hospitals as that is where the beds are. We are going into a health type wartime footing and need to think outside the box. Need to start making a plan of action as things are moving rapidly on the health deterioration front.

  11. Anonymous says:

    It would be best to just let the virus do it’s thing … best to get it now and build your immune system so you can survive the next big one … it’s evolution no use in fighting it

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, most have mild symptoms, like the Common Cold.
      The majority get better like with all Viruses and Flus which circle the world every year.

    • Anonymous says:

      Wonder if you would say that if it was your mother, father, son or daughter?
      Doubt it.

      • Anonymous says:

        Actually yes. It’s what we always do when you have similar symptoms. It’s the uneducated and non sensible people who think that the magic cure is at the hospital. Fluids, rest, and over the counter medication you generally need. Not to go to hospital and gather or spread more germs. You are obviously in the latter group I speak of. Probably one of the misguided souls that call 911 for an ambulance when you get a cough or cold.

    • Anonymous says:

      People like you are the reason why people in the USA still die from basic things like the flu. Keep that same energy if you get a stroke or a heart attack. The ‘next big one’ is not going to evolve from the same strain as this virus and therefore building your immune system against it wont do anything because your body wont be equipped for that particular strain.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, and a world wide depression too as we let the virus do it’s thing. Not smart 2:49.
      We live on a dinky island so think before you make such a stupid suggestion.

  12. Don't panic Cayman says:

    An Italian doctor who worked at Shenzhen Hospital in China was appointed by the Chinese government to participate in the hive study group of Wuhan or Corona-Virus pneumonia. He wrote a very interesting article, which is summarised below:

    – If a person has a runny nose and has phlegm, he is not infected with the Corona virus, because pneumonia gives a dry cough without a runny nose. This is the easiest way to locate it.
    On the other hand it is good to know that the Wuhan virus or corona virus is not heat resistant and dies at a temperature of 26 to 27 degrees. Therefore, drink plenty of hot water such as tea and herbs. It’s not a cure, but it’s good for the body. Drinking hot water is effective for killing all viruses. Try not to drink cold or frozen fluids. Expose yourself to the sun if it’s winter.

    – The virus is quite large (the cell has a diameter of about 400-500 nm), so any normal mask (not only the mask 3M & N95) can filter it. However, when an infected person sneezes in front of you, it will spread about 3 meters before falling to the ground. That is, it hovers in the air.

    – When the virus falls on a metal surface, it will live for at least 12 hours. So remember that if you come into contact with any metal surface, wash your hands thoroughly with soap.

    – The virus can remain active in tissues for 6-12 hours. Regular laundry detergent kills the virus. Winter clothes that do not need daily washing should be placed in the sun to kill the virus.

    Information about symptoms of pneumonia caused by corona virus:

    – First it will infect the throat, then you will feel a dry sore throat that will last 3 to 4 days.

    – Then the virus will merge with the nasal fluid, enter the trachea and enter the lungs causing Wuhan’s pneumonia. This process will take 5 to 6 days.

    – A condition of pneumonia, high fever and breathing difficulties will follow. Nasal congestion is not like normal nasal congestion. You’ll feel like you’re drowning in the water. It is important to seek medical attention immediately if you have this feeling.

    On prevention:
    – The most common way to get infected is not to touch things in a public place such as railings, door handles, handles on the bus, etc., so you should often wash your hands. The virus can only live on your hands for 5-10 minutes, but many things can happen in these 5-10 minutes, such as rubbing your eyes, touching your mouth or face, etc.

    – It is recommended to gargling with Betadine gargle to eliminate or minimize germs while still in the throat (before moving on to the lungs).
    Maybe the new corona virus shows no signs of infection for many days, so how do you know if someone gets infected? The latest information is that the incubation period may be up to 28 days before the symptoms of the crown appear.
    By the time a person has a fever/cough and goes to the hospital, the lungs can be 50% in fibrosis and maybe it is too late.
    Taiwan’s experts give us a simple self-control that we can do every morning:

    Take a deep breath and hold your breath for more than 10 seconds. If you do it without coughing, without suffocation or a bad sensation, etc., it is proof that there is no fibrosis in the lungs, a basic indication that there is no infection.
    At critical moments, please look at a fresh air environment every morning.

    We must all ensure that our mouth and throat are wet, NEVER dry. Drink minimal water every 15 minutes. WHY??? Because even if the virus enters your mouth … drinking water or other liquids will transport it through the esophagus to the stomach.
    There, stomach acids will kill the virus. If you do not drink enough water regularly the virus can enter the trachea and enter the lungs. And that’s going to be very dangerous.


    • Anonymous says:

      Do not listen to this person none of this information is collected from a reliable source. Please do information for yourself. Seriously. If it was this easy then everyone would be cured and actually alot of what people learn in school proves half of this information wrong.

      • Anonymous says:

        He speaks common sense. It is reliable enough for me. At this point one can”t be too picky. Many folk medicine works for prevention . Inhaling essential oils with antivirals properties for example would sanitize your upper respiratory system. Young living oils are sold in Cayman. You just need to get a proper cold air nebulizer.
        But you can sit and wait for a vaccine, and there would be none that would work, but of course it would come from a reliable source.

  13. Anonymous says:

    How dumb is it that an entire hospital is closed down during a world health scare. Get a grip people, test those that had contact and get back to treating those in need. So now if you have an underlying cardiac issue, (one of the most vulnerable patient groups) you cannot now be treated as a new admission in the islands only purpose built cardiac centre.
    You couldn’t make this s**t up.

    • Anonymous says:

      Close the Hospital yet allow Tourists to arrive daily. Makes sense. If they get sick they can be rest assured there are plenty of Coconut Trees to lie under if they wind up stuck on the island because of travel bans building up.
      Coconut Milk is excellent for hydration.

    • Anonymous says:

      Quite embarrassing really. Why goes on in there? Secret hospital?

  14. Anonymous says:

    I find it absolutely baffling how during 9/11 just a few terrorists we’re capable of causing all international flights to be grounded but, a super virus spreading around the globe which has killed more than double the amount of people still remains capable of catching free flights in and about.

    Useless, greed, ignorance and just stupidity all summed up in one.

    • Anonymous says:

      The virus seems pretty strong, but I doubt it can muscle it’s way into a cockpit, take over a plane and crash it into a building…

      • Anonymous says:

        but it can enable it to travel overseas.

        • Anonymous says:

          Flights were resumed after 911 in what 2-3 days. Are you proposing to stop flights globally until such time as we don’t have any risks from virus’s? Where do you draw the line?

  15. Anonymous says:

    Are cruise ships still coming in?

    • Anonymous says:

      I vote for disallowing cruise lines from stopping here for a long enough period to ensure we are safe. Tough decision but it may be necessary.

    • Anonymous says:

      Just a thought — I noticed that the Compass said CMO Dr. Lee had “tweeted” about the Health City situation. And then Hazard Management had a message that appeared to be from Dr. Lee but could have been from anyone impersonating Dr. Lee.


      Is this how sensitive government information of major import to the Cayman Islands is being handled?

      • Anonymous says:

        Better that the information be communicated quickly, than be held up by bureaucracy. Some stuff should not wait for Computer Services to open and process it. The check and balance should be a mandatory 10 year prison term for anyone impersonating a public official in this period of emergency.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Now is not the time to be pointing the finger of blame. Government has messed up on many things but I don’t think this is one of them. It was inevitable the virus would eventually get here. Now is a time for Government and people to work together to minimize the spread and hopefully prevent any fatalities.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Are we going to close every hospital in which a COVID-19 patient has been treated and staff exposed? This seems a rather dangerous route to go down…

    • Anonymous says:

      I think it’s a case of they messed up at the start line so they have no choice but to close HC to take control and avoid any further spread of the virus before they’ll be in a position to help. Shows that they didn’t take this as seriously as they should have from the beginning really.

    • anonymous says:

      If according to the poster below two crew members had been “suspected of Covid-19”, the ambulance and Health City staff should have been treating him as a possible COVID-19 patient, and akin extreme caution from the get-go, especially as he was an Italian national.

      But personally I don’t think we could have turned him away given all the history of this man.

      I just wondered though if previous stops had refused this man!

      And I agree that under the circumstances, with the number of suspected cases, Health City should shut down for a period.

  18. 6º Degrees of Separation Theory says:

    The six degrees of separation theory submits that any person on the planet can be connected to any other person on the planet through a chain of acquaintances that has no more than five intermediaries. Keep that in mind in our little island and pay close attention to your body. Take the necessary measures AS SOON as you feel sick.

    • BeaumontZodecloun says:

      Minor correction — and this is just my opinion. We should be taking serious necessary measures right now, all the time, and not wait until we have symptoms. It is inevitable it seems that CoVid will travel everywhere. What we can all do is help flatten out the curve and slow it down, hopefully so it manifests here in a manner in which HSA and other health care facilities can cope with the infected.

      We have to do this for our immune-compromised and elderly residents. If the spread of the virus is slow enough, existing measures and health care systems can tackle it.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Passenger admitted Feb 29th, two weeks ago.

    • Abigail Parchment says:

      Yes, notably different than the “this week” in official stories circulating yesterday.

  20. Gideon Battle says:

    Time has come to remove this Government now Cayman!! This governor also for letting this dangerous situation escalate to this deadly situation we find ourselves in here. HSA are you kidding me ?????

  21. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like the patient might not have caught it on the cruise ship?

  22. Anon says:

    Closing down services for only 2 weeks seems extremely optimistic. I would go nowhere near this place until it’s been certified free of infection for at least a month.

    • Anonymous says:

      If we have an outbreak you may not have any choice. Not that many hospitals to chose from.

      • Anon says:

        There are two others who have NOT admitted cruiseship passengers. Govt should stop this immediately, if passengers need urgent attention then medivac them to Miami where they came from.

        • Anonymous says:

          you cannot send someone in immediate cardiac arrest several miles away because thats a death sentence.

  23. Naya Boy says:

    Time for Capn Moses and his entourage to go !!! This is Bullshit Cayman!

  24. Anonymous says:

    The thing with contagions, is that you don’t need to be in contact with patient zero, just the person who was in contact with the person, who was in contact with the person, who was in contact with…multiply that by number of days and contacts from local admission date. We were definitely right to admit and treat him. Let’s acknowledge how this works without loosing our humanity, and knowing vast majority will get through this, even if we do get it. Stop drinking/smoking for a few weeks, take your vitamins and prepare you body for its optimal immune function carry your own pen for credit card purchases and keep clean and healthy as long as that’s possible. We may need those beds at health city.

    • Anonymous says:

      I beg a to differ. We we’re not right in bringing a potential carrier of the 19 here. Exposing residents to this virus was the dumbest move by this inept government.

      Don’t you ever say we we’re right in treating him. What are we running down here? A Covid-19 charity for sick individuals? NO!

      This decision may have very well cost the lives of our own in the near future because some dickhead like you thinks it was the right choice to make.

      • Anonymous says:

        Right on. A self sufficient society like ours can close our borders (both in and out) and never be exposed to COVID-19. When COVID-19 is under control in the rest of the world, we can live in our bubble for ever. Look how well that worked for Spanish Flu in 1918 or diphtheria, as Germany occupied countries with no previous exposure, in the 1940s.

      • fetefone says:

        I think if we are to get through this, maintaining respect for human life is going to be the way to do it…

        • Anonymous says:

          Agreed, but we live in an unbelievably selfish society that is also ignorant about the inevitability of COVID19 coming here. Some people really seem to believe that if we simply let the guy die on the cruise ship and then forced the ship to sail away with the dead body, we were never going to be impacted.

  25. AC says:

    I guess our trip will be canceled now because we are afraid of travel bans.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Health City staff positive = epidemic in Cayman.
    HC staff visit supermarkets, Church etc.

    • LD says:

      They are being tested, odds are not all have been infected. Fear is as contagious as Corona.

      • Anonymous says:

        You’re right! One day I planned on drinking one Corona, and the next thing I knew, I had drunk a whole six pack. It was contagious!

      • Anonymous says:

        Test Negative one day, can pick it up after, leaving folks running around unknowingly spreading it. Like the Common Cold, Stomach Bugs and viruses are spread. Contagious before symptoms. A test does not test future germs.

  27. Anonymous says:

    So it’s the 10 people and everyone/everywhere they have been since they were in contact with the patient. Extrapolate that out again and we should already be on lockdown for minimum 2 x weeks – what are the government waiting for, for it to spread further? a confirmed death? lock down already!

  28. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Health City for saving this man’ life.

  29. Anonymous says:

    we should have stopped the cruise ships weeks ago

  30. Anonymous says:

    Bravo Moses / Alden.

  31. Anonymous says:

    I blame Government, in particular Joey Woods, Moses Kirkconnell, Alden McLaughlin and Dwayne Seymour for this!!! This patient and the other should have never been allowed to disembark the cruise ship during this pandemic. Our boarders should have been closed!! Our people and residents come first. Now we have been exposed. Any resulting deaths mean blood is on your hands!

    • Anonymous says:

      He had cardiac emergency. It could have been you.

      • Anonymous says:

        Thank you.

      • Anonymous says:

        This is a pandemic. Priority should always be the people already within your boarders.

        • Anonymous says:

          And it was coming here anyway. You’re an ass. If everyone was as selfish as you, there would be no doctors, no nurses, no army field medics, no firefighters, no soldiers, nobody to keep you safe.

          • Anonymous says:

            It’s not about being selfish. It’s about making hard decisions to protect the most people during a time of crisis.

            • Anonymous says:

              There was no possible way that this virus wasn’t coming to Cayman at some point. Go talk to any doctor if you don’t believe me.

          • Anonymous says:

            You’re naive for wanting to endanger 65k people for one person.

        • Anonymous says:

          They cannot just let a man die, whether or not you agree with the situation it would’ve become a diplomatic issue in that case between the country the man is from and Cayman.

        • Anonymous says:

          Once on the island he was on your borders.

      • Anonymous says:

        That ship had 2 crew members suspected of COVID-19. That alone should have been the clue not to allow anyone off the ship.

        • Clarity says:

          Just for clarification, these are different incidents:
          1) Feb 29 – Costa Luminosa docked at Spotts – cardiac arrest patient taken to Health City – seems no precautions were taken and he becomes our first confirmed case.
          2) March 9 – Caribbean Princess – 2 sick passengers were allowed to land and all precautions were taken. One was air ambulanced off, the other was taken to Health City under isolation. What is the status of this person?

      • Anonymous says:

        Oh so one person for an entire 65K population?

        • Anonymous says:

          It started in January in Italy when 2 Chinese tourists from Wuhan got off in Venice to spend a day there. Now we have nearly 2,000 deaths in Northern Italy. That’s all it took.

          • Anonymous says:

            Citation please? Preferably from a public health authority and not Social Media…..

        • Anonymous says:

          If the patient has been properly managed at HCCI this would be a moot discussion.

      • Anonymous says:

        So we will risk 60,000 people for the sake of one person? Use your brain. imbecile.

        • Anonymous says:

          If HCCI had handled this case properly their facility would be open at this critical time.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree!

      They affirmed the public that this case was not related to the virus and that there was no need to prevent the cruise ships from stopping here. Now an entire hospital is shut and closed whilst the virus is spreading.

      These individuals can not be trusted in leadership.

    • Anonymous says:

      Some people cane be right proper asses, you certainly qualify.

    • concerned person says:

      no blaming game here now we would have still gotten it one way or the other its a pandemic.

      • Anonymous says:

        Im sorry, but trying to say that “we would have gotten it either way” is not an excuse for this incompetence.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Get better soon people…really hope you are all OK.

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