During the past few weeks, St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) has seen a non-stop flow of admissions of COVID-19 patients, the vast majority of whom were unvaccinated. Eighteen (18) patients are currently admitted to SMMC for COVID-19 care of which seven (7) are ICU patients.
While all Outpatient Department appointments and consultations will continue to proceed as scheduled, as of Monday, August 30th, non-urgent admissions and procedures remain temporarily halted. Patients whose appointments have been postponed will be contacted directly by the Hospital.
The decision to prolong the temporarily halt has not been taken lightly and the lack of a significant decrease in active cases is quite worrisome to the hospital.
When asked about the reason for the worry, Dr. Felix Holiday, SMMC Medical Director and Chairman of the Outbreak Management Team replied “The highly transmissible delta variant of COVID-19 produces a significant number of infections in the community which translate to a high number of admissions. High admissions of COVID-19 patients lead to the need for the reallocation of staff which leads to the temporary halting of non-urgent admissions and procedures as like many hospitals around the world, we are experiencing a shortage of medical and nursing staff. The reallocation of staff means that our patients who require non-urgent surgery such as a hip replacement or fibroid removal will have to wait until the COVID-19 situation stabilizes, which could potentially have long-term consequences”.
“In light of this, we are joining our local government and CPS to urge all persons eligible for the vaccine to get vaccinated and help us alleviate the burden on our valued medical and nursing staff and resume regular care for all of our patients. We have seen that vaccinations help lower the number of hospitalizations and ultimately saves lives. The vaccine currently available on Sint Maarten is the Pfizer vaccine which recently received FDA approval, prior to receiving Emergency Authorization from various health and governmental bodies. Being vaccinated not only lowers your chance of becoming severely ill after contracting COVID-19 but it also helps slow the spread which in turn protects those around you and helps keep hospital beds free for persons who are severely ill,” concluded Dr. Holiday.
SMMC urges persons experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 such as fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headaches, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting and diarrhea to call their House Doctor or contact the CPS hotline at 914. Persons are also encouraged to make use of CPS’ free testing facility.
If you are experiencing symptoms such as difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, chest pain or loss of speech and movement, please call the Ambulance Department at 912 or +1 (721) 542-2111.