In an effort to weather any possible storms, St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) has made arrangements for its COVID care facilities that are located outside SMMC, to be made more storm resilient. The new care facilities are referred to as SMMC’s Auxiliary Care Facility (ACF) and the construction has been documented in a video that SMMC’s Outbreak Management Team recently launched.
SMMC states: “In the first phase of the COVID pandemic, SMMC had to act swiftly to get additional COVID care facilities realized in order to deal with the rapidly increasing number of admitted COVID patients. Thanks to our very hard working and dedicated team and with the help of the Government of St. Maarten, the Dutch Government and The World Bank, we got that accomplished in a record-breaking time.”
“The next phase was to make our COVID care facilities that are located off-premises, more storm resilient. This is not only with the present hurricane season in mind but also taking into account that we do not know for how long we will need the extra capacity as COVID could be around for the foreseeable future”.
“As such, a storm resilient Auxiliary Care Facility has been created in which special medically outfitted containers (so-called “hospitainers”), donated by the Dutch Ministry of Health, have been welded together and securely anchored to a solid concrete foundation. Each container is outfitted with airco units and the cluster of containers will be covered by one roof as additional temperature control.”
The ACF will have 16 beds of which 4 are ICU beds which include having dedicated ventilator capability. SMMC aims to keep all COVID care outside of the hospital but in case of a surge in admissions, also has COVID capacity inside SMMC with another 17 positions available for COVID treatment, all of which are in isolation.
Patients will not be kept at the ACF once a storm poses a direct threat to St. Maarten and will be transported to SMMC. In case of storm threat, high risk, non-COVID-19 patients may be evacuated to an approved nearby evacuation facility, or airlifted to a hospital within the Dutch Kingdom if needed.
“The project to make the COVID care facilities more storm resilient is made possible in part by funds from the St. Maarten Recovery, Reconstruction and Resilience Trust Fund that is funded by The Netherlands and managed by The World Bank for which SMMC expresses its sincere gratitude”, SMMC concludes.