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TCI: 20 Bed Inflatable Hospital, Newest tool in Ministry of Health arsenal

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#TurksandCaicos, May 19, 2021 – When the sustained 185 mile per hour winds of Hurricane Irma lashed the Turks and Caicos Islands on September 7 in 2017, it not only wrought the most damage on the archipelago of any hurricane in history with every island battered; it also crumbled vital public infrastructure, unsparingly destroying schools, churches, businesses, homes and clinics.

The unprecedented destruction in the Turks and Caicos Islands imprinted on mass casualty specialist, Charlene Higgs, who is the director of Health Disaster Education and Training.  It ignited her activism toward securing, for her country, an emergency hospital which would offer continuous medical care in an instant in the case of any future catastrophic event.

“This is a multi-function which can be used in the aftermath of disasters and emergencies to ensure continuous essential primary health care services. It can also be used as an advanced medical post in the incident of a mass casualty situation and as a surge capacity unit in the event of infectious disease, outbreaks, epidemics and pandemics like the one we are now, currently facing.  It is my vision to see one or a similar structure of this strategically positioned on each island in the Turks and Caicos Islands, said Mrs. Higgs in her opening remarks at the ceremony attended by government and health officials.  

On Friday May 14, around 17 days prior to the start of the 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season the Ministry of Health, support by the Cabinet of the Turks and Caicos Islands unveiled and held a ribbon cutting sanctioning the country’s first ever field hospital at the Down Town Ball Park.

The 20 bed inflatable hospital was erected at the park in under 30-minutes with the support of the newly formed, TCI Regiment and though warm inside on this day; a tour exposed an air conditioning system which given a few hours would deliver on the cool comfort needed for medical staff and patients. 

 “This unit can be deployed with minimal support staff, it is designed and tested to withstand 60mph winds, resistant to fire, ultraviolent rays, chemicals and its powerful blowers inflate the structure in under three minutes,” said Charlene Higgs, Director of Health Disaster Education & Training.

The field hospital has a modular structure, which means other units can be attached, a hand-washing station which has its own tanks for water to be disposed and refilled and the doors’ width make access to the health facility, easy.

“This unit contains permanent LED lighting systems, powerful generators, it has also two very powerful Hemovac units; it also comes with cots, blankets, linens, hygiene kits, mobile dispensing box kits and medical supplies to accommodate up to 100 patients; this is a multi-function unit.”

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Health

Woman dies on Tuesday; 32nd Covid Death for Turks & Caicos

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, January 20, 2022 – The Turks and Caicos has recorded its 32nd death related to COVID-19.

A Ministry of Health press release informed that the individual who was in quarantine in Grand Turk and requested emergency aid on Tuesday; response came from the public health team in Grand Turk.

The person, who we are told is a special needs young woman – was unvaccinated and had underlying medical conditions.

The death rate in the Turks and Caicos of both vaccinated and unvaccinated persons has climbed alarmingly this year.  In the 21-month period from March 2020 when the country recorded its first case to December 2021, there were 26 deaths recorded in the TCI.

In the 19 days since the start of 2022 that number has increased to 32; which means six deaths already in January.

 

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Bahamas News

Cruising should slow down says PAHO

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

‘Slow down on Cruising’, that’s the word from the Pan American Health Organization, PAHO in their latest recent press conference.

Dr. Ciro Ugarte Director of Health Emergencies at the PAHO was referring to the Bahamas but made sure to note that the advice was highly relevant to many countries in the times of omicron.

“In the context of intense transmission, due to the Omicron variant as we have highlighted several times. It is just logical to suspend or at least limit the cruise ship traffic as an outbreak on board might end up exceedingly high and probably will go beyond the capacity of local health services”

Both the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos are experiencing a massive uptick in cases and several warnings regarding cruise travel have been issued by the US Centers for Disease Control.

Cruising just resumed for many regional countries this past Summer, Turks and Caicos was among the latest to restart on December 13.

A stop to sailing would be devastating to economies, however, ports of call like Grand Turk which are reeling with rocketing case numbers of COVID are urged to consider the suggestion of slowing down on ships by PAHO.

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Health

New Healthy Sail rules to ensure transparency and safety kick in, but not all Cruise Lines are on board

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

January 20, 2022 – The US Centers for Disease Control Cruise Sailing Order expired on Saturday January 15th and it means cruise lines will now be able to choose whether or not they want to participate. This “Healthy Sail” program is a set of guidelines for cruising which the CDC says will provide transparency about COVID management on ships.

Cruise lines which chose to participate in the “healthy sail” voluntary program will be subject to CDC guidelines. Cruise lines which opt out of the program will still have to adhere to masking mandates and report all COVID cases.

However, the ships opting out of the CDC Healthy Sail program, will not be required to make public their testing regimes for crew and passengers.

“There will be a lot of unknowns about what risk mitigation measures are being used on board because they will really be able to set their own protocols for testing of passengers and crew,” said Aimee Treffiletti, CDC representative to USA Today.

Naturally, this raises several questions about whether these ships will be required to make onboard protocols and findings public to ports of call.

Up to Monday, Norwegian, Oceania and Regent Seven Seas Cruise Lines had opted into the program. Noticeably absent from the roll call: Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean.

 

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