HSA bans most visitors, expands flu clinic

| 15/03/2020 | 15 Comments
A&E at the George Town hospital is next to the flu clinic, opposite the church

(CNS): The George Town hospital saw 300 cases of respiratory tract infections over a two week period last month, the Health Services Authority has said. The flu clinic at the hospital has therefore been expanded due to high numbers of people going there with flu-like symptoms, although it’s not clear if the HSA is testing any of these patients for COVID-19. The HSA has also stopped almost all visitors to the hospital in an effort to reduce the risk of coronavirus spread to patients.

Parents of children in the paediatric ward and those accompanying mothers in labour are exempt from the ban, the HSA has said.

All doors into the hospital will be locked and only accessible to authorised personnel. “This heightened measure is to protect the most vulnerable to reduce the risk of spreading any virus,” said HSA CEO Lizzette Yearwood. “All of our patients and immediate family have been notified of this change in policy.”

Anyone who needs to contact a patient, can call 949-8600.

Accident and Emergency are open to patients who require immediate emergency care. However, in recent weeks there has been a flood of people going to the A&E and the general practice clinic with flu-like symptoms and the expansion of the flu clinic appears to be an effort to deal with this more efficiently and control the spread of all viruses.

Medical Officer of Health Dr Samuel Williams-Rodriguez said, “We saw approximately 300 cases of respiratory tract infections reported within the last two weeks in February so the need is still there.”

The flu clinic remains on the main hospital campus, with a dedicated unit to treat patients with moderate to severe flu symptoms, to help mitigate the spread of the virus in other clinic settings.

The dedicated flu clinic is located in the space previously occupied by the Outpatient Mental Health Unit, on the side of the hospital facing the Seventh Day Adventist Church, to the far left of A&E. Signage on the hospital campus will direct patients to the clinic, which will be open Monday to Friday from 8:00am to 4:00pm.

The Physiotherapy Department at the hospital, which was located in that area, is relocating to the first floor of Smith Road Centre, effective Monday, 16 March. The HSA said there will be no interruption in patients’ appointments or any decrease is the level of service. Operating hours and contact information for the unit will remain the same.

Anyone who has flu-like symptoms and has travelled within the last two weeks is strongly urged to stay at home and contact their healthcare provider or the Flu Hotline (see details below). Callers will speak with a health professional about their symptoms, be screened for details like travel history, and will be advised on what they should do, such as to go to the flu clinic or stay home in isolation.

Everyone at the flu clinic will be required to wear a facemask to prevent the spread of viruses. Patients visiting the flu clinic can use the Seventh Day Adventist Church parking lot, just opposite A&E.

Dr Williams-Rodriguez said that most people with the flu have mild to moderate symptoms and will recover within about a week without medical treatment. People are advised to rest, take over-the-counter medications and drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. Pregnant women and those with underlying health conditions should call the hotline or their primary care doctor at the first sign of flu symptoms.

These can include fever, sore throat, cough, runny nose, muscle or body aches, and chills. People who experience worsening symptoms, such as sudden dizziness and confusion, severe or persistent vomiting, pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen, or difficulty breathing should call the flu hotline or 911.

To help avoid the spread of germs and reduce the risk of contracting viruses, it is essential to practice the following: wash your hands with soap and water (hand sanitizer if a sink with soap and water is not available); don’t touch your face unless you have washed your hands, as that is how the virus gets into your body; cough and sneeze into a tissue and then throw it away, or cough and sneeze into your bent elbow; stay 3-6 feet away from sick persons with respiratory symptoms.

See the HSA coronavirus fact sheet here

Members of the public with flu-like symptoms who feel there is a risk they may have the disease are urged to contact the HSA at flu@hsa.ky or via the flu hotline 1-800-534-8600.

For more information about minimising risk, visit the HSA website here. (Mobiles users visit the HSA website here.)


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Category: Health, health and safety

Comments (15)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    It is flu season and there are lots of normal run of the mill flus going around right now. Regardless everyone should be isolating and practicing social distancing if they need to go out.

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  2. Brown Freeman says:

    300 cases is an abnormal number of cases in any given moment, this is an epidemic of Acute Respiratory Infection, what the HSA is not saying is that the same or more apply to the 1st two weeks of March 2020, i have saw it by myself -the outbreak in # of cases- at all HSA Clinics including but not limited to A&E. In science there is not coincedence, there is cause-effect.
    How it comes that all our close neighbors -including Cuba and Jamaica, the closest, are having an epidemic of Acute Respiratory disease, WITH FLU LIKE SYMPTONS, they are clasifying it as a possible CoVID 2019 etilogy (cause) and testing actively for the Coronavirus 2 as causal agent, their cases are climbing as more tests are being conducted and they are reporting it, the same pattern aply all over the World, in our small neighborhood (called Caribbean and Central America) most of the Flu cases are cause by the CoVID 19, and here in a highly interconected -by travels and traveler Islands- which just reactively took partial agressive containt measures ,LATE and AFTER the FACTS last week, the Health Authorities keep saying -misleading- without testing (AKA Scientific evidence) that Cayman Islands has only cases (they even dont call it by it real name EPIDEMIC of FLU cases) of “COMMON FLU”, come on, more common sense is needed, there many people with scientific background and training living here that know what is what and dont swallow this “pill”.
    This SARS-CoVID 2, is caused by a different mutated Betha Coronovirus, highly infectious, event by touch, with not vacinne or treatment available (SPECIAL PATHOGEN, level BL 4 biohazard) causing an alarming rate of deaths (3-4% common flu only causes 0.1% globally) with 10-20% of all infected patients experiencing Severe Acute Respiratory Disease requiring Intensive Care and Assisted or Controlled Ventilation (Ventilators, ICU unit and specialist needed) WHICH WE DONT HAVE IT.
    The actively aggressive testing is needed, specially in an small closed population as our, in order to clasify the level of risk, real supervised isolation to break the chain of transmission; in order to allocate medical staff, equipment and other resources and to decide political actions, this is a National Emergency, and the Governor must be in Control -as per Constitution- and bring in Epidemiologist and ICU specialist, not to mention ventilators and have a temporary Quarantine facilty ready and ICU like temporary facilty ready for massive cases on stand by.
    Dr. W. Rodriguez and CEI Yearwood (inexperienced) are playing with a fire that they dont know the nature, the potential and how to control it, well developed in resources and medically speaking countries like S. Korea with more educated, trained and good Hyg habits populations are having it hard to deal with this CoVID Flu Pandemic. Do not mistake, do not listen to inept inexperienced GP. The sympton in more than 90% if cases start in the nose (runny stuffy), sore throat, and dry cough, NO FEVER, fever only in 10% of severe cases. We must test, test and test again.
    Downplaying it and hidden the truth and fact, they are incubating catastrophe for the Cayman Islands, we will see.
    There are many apparently healthy people all over the world carrying the virus and not having the disease.
    We cannot identify the initial host (In Wugan China?) but for sure we can test for antibodies (anti serum) healthy carries who behave like hosts, to do science. And do not mistake there will be reservoirs for CoVID 2019 too, it “came” to stay and mutate as all alpha, betha, delta and gamma Coronavirus do.
    Test, test and test for it, this is the epidemilogical way of dealing with the scientific part of an Epidemic, we did it in Africa and in Cuba too with others like Ebola, Cholera etc.

    CNS and Caymanians ASK the HSA and the CIG for transparency and disclossure, this is not a noxa to be playing politics with.

    I have said,

    Brown Freeman (MD)

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  3. Anonymous says:

    Good luck to all the health practitioners in the coming weeks ahead, you’re in for a heck of a ride.
    Please everyone, stop going out in groups, wash your hands, be sensible. If this virus takes hold here, we will collapse as a nation state – there are simply not enough ICU facilities, nor ventilators, and we will lose a lot of people who didn’t have to die.
    be smart, think about your fellow community members, and stay away from eachother until we get the all clear which could be months away.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    I’m a high risk individual that had to visit the HSA very recently to get a prescription on meds and the pharmacy to have them filled and it was one of most stressful experiences of my life. The pharmacy was a mess and we should a better system in place, being in that packed environment has me convinced that I’m now infected.

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    • Anonymous says:

      4:32 pm that also happened to me as you said it was stressful and scary. One lady standing behind me kept talking to the lady in front of me by standing over my shoulder and reaching out to talk. People don’t realize that they should not get close to others as I to am a high risk individual and now I am trying to get in touch with the Lab Department to see if they will be open or what I need to do as I have to go for blood work every two weeks and also trying to contact the pharmacy for a refill on all of my medications. WOW what stressful situation.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    How many functioning medical ventilators are there in the Cayman Islands?

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    • Anonymous says:

      There are not enough medical ventilators in the Cayman Islands, the U.K. and the U.S. if conditions related to the virus continue to grow. Doctors will soon be in the situation like in Italy now, that they will be forced to make decisions on who will live and who will die. The younger will get the ventilators if Italy is the model.

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    • Brown Freeman says:

      As of today 7 in the GT Hospital 4 on its ways (Goverment 11), the CMO said at the press conference that Health City has 20 total 31, and Doctors Hospital (CTMH) could have a similar or less than Health City. Do you imagine? In an epidemic of this magnitude, so lethal (10 to 20% of patients could get a severe disease with lower respiratory track serious involvement) where assisted or controlled (ICU protocol) is needed as advanced life support. 300 to 400 cases of “Common Flu” went to HSA clinics in the last 3 weeks (epidemic), pls consider it the tip of the iceberg (epidemiologically speaking), what is under the line is 10 hidden cases x each 1 in the surface =4000 infected persons, of this 10% could get a severe Acute Respiratory Infectious Disease= 400, estimated 200 could be in critical condition needing intubation and ventilation. Who is the CMO, who is Samuel Williams Rodriguez and the HSA CEO and the Government that he advice to be playing Russian Rulette with our health and life?

      I have said,

      Brown Freeman (MD)

      Ps. What about agressive active testing as I have mentioned above?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Is 300 in two weeks normal? Are they genuinely sick or the “worried well”?

    If it’s an abnormal spike in actual flu like symptoms with respiratory tract infections then are we saying Covid is here and in the community? If so, that’s expected and there’s no need to panic, but it would be good to know if that it what they’re saying here.

    Also what’s happened with the sixth test that was sent off last Monday? We’ve had four negatives and one positive with one still to be accounted for.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Bluntly, anyone carrying on in the community and still saying “there’s no need to panic” hasn’t finished their reading assignment. Everyone should be home isolating unless they actually need to be in the community.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Or they get their news from Fox. If more Republicans die than Democrats as a result of their disinformation campaign to protect Donald Trump, they should charge Fox News with negligent manslaughter.

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        • Anonymous says:

          8:27, Particularly in view of the fact that some Fox people keep pushing the line that the virus is a “Democratic Party hoax”. This is simply irresponsible. Advertisers on Fox should boycott advertising on Fox. Of course, this whole situation is not helped by Trump not telling it like it is while the top doctors from the Center From Disease Control are completely contradicting Trump.

          Wish Trump would leave the policy issues on the coronavirus to the medical experts. Trump is simply a real estate guy now well over his head. He should just shut up.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Rupert Murdoch and the Murdoch sons who own Fox and allow the Fox misinformation nonsense to continue, should be charged with negligent manslaughter.

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        • Rick says:

          Idiot.

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