Facing the virus!!!

THE NEW TODAY is calling on all persons in Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique to consider some form of self-imposed isolation for their own survival in the face of the threat posed to our existence by the Covid-19 virus.

The ruling New National Party (NNP) government of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell appears to be hopeless and helpless and has done very little to convince the population that it can be trusted with information given out to the public and that it is on top of the situation.

The Prime Minister himself contributed to this state of affairs during a so-called national broadcast at mid-day last Friday when he appeared to be less than honest to the people on the current status of the coronavirus in the country.

Less than two hours later, news came out of St. Lucia that that island’s first confirmed coronavirus patient had spent one week in Grenada in the previous week and that the authorities in the Spice Island were alerted about this development.

Did the Prime Minister have this information when he made the address? If he did why he did not make it available to the people instead of allowing them to hear it from outside of Grenada?

Exactly how much did Dr. Mitchell know about the St. Lucia patient who passed through Grenada and if he knew at the time of his broadcast what did he do with the information in his possession?

The reality of the situation is that the government has not been forthcoming with the people on a number of vital information and as such social media is the predominant source of information for the people and not officialdom.

It was Social Media and not the government that made Grenadians aware that a Canadian tourist who visited Grenada two weeks ago is now tested positive for the virus in her homeland after falling sick.

It is extremely difficult to know exactly how many and who are the locals that the foreign coronavirus victims came into contact with during their stay on the island.

It does not take anyone with a little commonsense to conclude that the St Lucia victim would have dealt with an Immigration Officer, Customs, Taxi driver, the Bell Boy as well as the Front Desk person and room maid at the named hotel and most likely would have touched the Front Desk itself to get checked in at the hotel.

It is quite possible that hundreds of Grenadians could have come into some kind of contact with the coronavirus-affected person at a bank, supermarket and local restaurants.

The fact that the government is boasting that the island has no coronavirus cases is empty since the island lacks the capacity to adequately and directly test for the disease.

There is a state of panic in the country especially among some of our healthcare personnel who are expected to be in the frontline of the fight against the virus.

THE NEW TODAY has picked up information that some of the nurses are not prepared to go on the frontline in the battle amongst persons affected with the virus due to a lack of preparation to deal with anyone who has come down with the disease.

One nurse was quoted as saying that she would immediately send in a sick leave if called upon to attend to anyone who is known to be affected by the virus.

The sad state of things is summed up by excerpts taken from a piece of correspondence received by this newspaper from a healthcare worker: “Workers in Casualty are still using surgical masks. There are no separate areas for Covid-19 patients as yet. Patients who may be mentally challenged there is no place to treat them. The Isolation Room is not properly sealed. The door is a handle door and not push or sensor open and the sink is one that has to be opened with the hand.

“As a matter of fact the Pediatric Ward is very close to the Isolation Center and not blocked off. Patients going to out-patient have to use the wash room in the same area where the Covid-19 patients will be passed to go to the Isolation Center and could come into contact with a patient on their way to the center.

“Are there equipment to care for a patient who may stool on themselves? Are there sufficient ventilators and (respirators)? When are we getting more testing kits? Are the lab staff persons trained to prepare the kits to send away for testing and are they equipped?

“Health Care workers are fearful – we only talking but no one seeking to get the supplies and equipment and staff (are) also needed. Every Nurse and Doctor cannot work in Covid-19 – they are also needed as we still have the normal medical conditions to deal with”.

“We need technical experts. Who (is) checking on that? We ask for intervention Father. The persons in high places (are) not listening to Health Care Workers. Further, now that school is closed Health Care Workers have no place to leave their children. Some are worried – how are (they) going to attend (to patients) with no one taking care of their small children? It is a challenge”.

THE NEW TODAY also wish to mention another serious concern of the exposed healthcare workers who are at great risk and having to return home after work and could be bringing the disease to their own family members.

The authorities also talk of visits to the prison by civilians being restricted but yet the prisoners are coming out every day to attend matters in our courts and inter-mixing with staffers in both the High Court and Magistrate’s Courts.

This newspaper has heard talk of a National Co-ordinator for the virus but much more important is the question – Is there a dedicated Covid-19 team in Grenada?

Is it any wonder that St George’s University (SGU) took in front and undertook a mass exodus of its students from Grenada on a number of charter flights to the United States and Canada with better medical equipment and facilities?

The government should not rule out a possible shut down of the island for a two-week period in order to be in a better position to control any possible Covid-19 outbreak and to contain the situation to individual households and not risk an outbreak among the general population.

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