Sando patients get screened in tent
PATIENTS seeking treatment for viral illnesses at the San Fernando General Hospital were being screened in a special isolation tent near the emergency department yesterday.
The measure was put in place after the hospital confirmed three Influenza A (H1N1) cases, commonly known as swine flu.
One of the three patients has died, and the Express was told several other patients with swine flu symptoms are being treated.
South-West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA) Director of Health Dr Shivanand Gopeesingh said a tent was erected outside the hospital’s emergency department yesterday.
“There has been an increase in the number of people coming to the hospital for treatment for viral illnesses in recent days. But not all the cases are severe and not all are symptoms of the influenza H1N1 virus. We have since put up a tent outside the casualty area where patients are being examined,” he said.
Gopeesingh confirmed there were three cases of swine flu at the hospital. He said one person who was treated in intensive care has died.
Gopeesingh said last month, the emergency department recorded 300 patients seeking treatment for viral illnesses.
“That is ten persons a day. But over the last few days, that number has increased. People are coming in with cold and high fever. But we have dedicated an area for viral illnesses,” he said.
Gopeesingh said patients with swine flu symptoms are given masks and placed in an isolated area at the A&E department.
Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan said on Thursday there were six confirmed cases of the swine flu virus.
Khan said swine flu symptoms were similar to a normal cold and advised that persons seek medical treatment as soon as possible.
“The Ministry of Health has adequate medication for management; we have adequate vaccination for prevention, but there should not be a run on vaccinations; just the population of high-risk persons should be vaccinated,” he said.
Khan said if the virus is caught early, it prevents mortality, but if it is caught late, the respiratory system is then in disarray.
It was reported Barbados has confirmed four cases of swine flu, including one death.