TCI News

University Hospital aims to set record straight on COVID-19 positive TCI patient

UHWI Jamaica, file photo

#TurksandCaicosIslands – April 18, 2020 — A Turks and Caicos patient has shockingly tested positive for COVID-19 after being airlifted to Jamaica for advanced critical care for a non-COVID-19 related illness.

The scenario has caused quite in stir in both jurisdictions today.

Jamaicans took to social media, to question how their health authorities could have accepted a COVID-19 positive case from the Turks and Caicos Islands.

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Turks and Caicos residents expressed concern that the medically evacuated patient was unknowingly sick with the coronavirus at the local hospital.

The University Hospital of the West Indies, (UHWI) which regularly facilitates the TCI’s Treatment Abroad Program, issued a statement which explained the patient was never considered a COVID-19 medical evacuee.

“The patient was already intubated and had a viral filtration system.  Based on the UHWI’s screening form, at no time was the patient considered to be a COVID-19 patient, but out of an abundance of caution, the UHWI decided to test the patient.  The result is positive and the patient remains stable in the COVID-19 ICU.”

The UHWI statement informed that the patient was not new to the facility and arrived in Jamaica from the Turks and Caicos on April 16, met by staff donning full personal protective equipment or PPEs.

“The patient, a cancer patient of the (UHWI) Hospital had a bleeding gastric cancer treated on March 16, 2020 and was released and returned home to the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) on March 26, 2020.  The patient had an emergency reoperation in the TCI and a request was made for advanced critical care, a service usually provided for all our contributing territories by the UHWI.”

The admittance of the critical patient was a decision made in consultation with the Emergency Operation Centre of the Jamaica Ministry of Health and Wellness, the Ministry of National Security of Jamaica and the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority.

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The statement was issued to correct information, said UHWI.

It had been reported that the Head of Surgery at UHWI and other staffers were sent home for self-quarantine as a result of the unexpected positive for and possible exposure to the coronavirus due to the Turks and Caicos patient.

Magnetic Media and the general public are still awaiting an official statement on the matter from the Turks and Caicos Islands Ministry of Health Agriculture and Human Services.

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