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Obese COVID-19 patients over 60 most affected by delta variant

Dr. Dolland Noel - Head of the COVID-19 Medical Response Team and Head of Internal Medicine at the St. George’s General Hospital

Health officials have revealed that obese COVID-19 patients over the age of 60, who have underlying conditions are the ones who are most affected by the highly transmissible Delta variant, which was first detected on the island during the August spike in positive cases.

Head of the COVID-19 Medical Response Team/Head of Internal Medicine at the St. George’s General Hospital, Dr. Dolland Noel, addressed this issue at a Ministry of Health press conference in St. George’s last week Thursday, where he urged Grenadians to do what is necessary to “help protect and prevent people who are high risk by taking the precautions, including vaccination…”

“We are seeing that the obese patients, who have body mass index more than 30, are most impacted by the Delta variant of COVID-19. It is well documented that obesity is a high-risk factor for morbidity and mortality in COVID-19,” he said.

“We have seen diabetics, hypertensive, people with chronic lung disease, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) asthma, patients with renal failure and ensive renal disease, cerebrovascular disease like strokes, cancers – they have tumors in different places…autoimmune disorders, and we are seeing a lot of the elderly being impacted by the highly contagious delta variant,” he added.

Dr. Noel also told reporters: “Those (are) the groups that we have to protect…we do save a lot of them but you know that COVID-19 has a high mortality, and we will lose a few of them.”

The medical doctor warned that “the Delta variant is even more contagious than chickenpox (and) it doesn’t take much for the delta variant to affect you.”

He expressed concern for “elderly people who have had strokes and they are paraplegic, and they have not gotten out of their beds in years, and are there suffering from severe pneumonia, and acute respiratory distress syndrome from COVID-19, through no fault of theirs because they have never left their house”.

“We know that somebody took it to them,” he said, reiterating that four (4) preventative strategies, including social distancing, proper wearing of masks, hand hygiene, and vaccination,” as interventions, which he noted “is entirely dependent on us…and would go a long way in giving us a healthy society.”

“I admonish you to stop thinking about just you… we have to think about the broader picture, the elderly relatives, and young children who are not yet eligible for vaccination…the preventative strategies are very important,” Dr. Noel added.

In preparation to combat the deadly delta variant, Dr. Noel disclosed that “five (5) isolation units with a capacity of 93 beds” have been established at the St. George’s General Hospital.

He said that on a daily basis about five (5) to six (6) people are successfully treated and discharged to go home to continue with their isolation.

The Ministry of Health has announced that it was noticing a decline in positive COVID-19 cases and Acting Director of Medical Services Dr. Tyhiesia Donald told Thursday’s press briefing this is attributed to increased vaccination among the population and that a continued downward trend would be dependent on Grenadians following the measures as outlined by the medical experts.

“So, of course, if we don’t maintain what we call behavioural changes, that decline can change. So, it is very important that we adhere to those lifestyle changes to help (stop) the spread,” Dr. Donald added.

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