Hospital categories should be identified – GMOA
By Dilanthi Jayamanne and Priyasha Hettihewa
Hospital categories should be identified to cater to the expanding Brandix COVID-19 Cluster, Secretary of the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA),
Dr. Senal Fernando said.
The situation has affected several hospital staff and units, with hospital staff also being jeopardised by the spread of the virus. He said patients who are still asymptomatic and show mild symptoms of COVID-19 should be treated at Divisional Hospitals, while major hospitals with intensive care unit facilities should be allocated to high risk or medium risk patients.
Dr. Fernando said, the Union during a meeting with the Health Ministry, had urged it to identify the two categories of hospitals and prepare them to cope with the situation. The hospital should be allocated depending on the severity of the patient’s symptoms, he said. Hospitals need to be identified to increase bed capacity for both categories of patients. Also, such a system would enable large hospitals to cater to other emergencies as well.
Hospitals such as the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID) should be allocated for severe cases, while those like Neville Fernando Teaching Hospital, Iranawila, Dankotuwa should be allocated for mild cases.
Responding to questions as to the availability of ICU facilities at the Neville Fernando Hospital, he said the hospital had human resources issues.
The Union Secretary said a proposal had also been made to temporarily suspend the provision of routine services in hospitals at least in the Gampaha and Colombo Districts, till the situation was under control. He said the Health Ministry had already issued instructions for the issuance of drugs through postal services to routine clinic patients. The health staff should not be exhausted at least till the disease spread was brought under control.
Meanwhile, Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi says the health staff responsible for controlling the spread of COVID-19 should be protected.
Wanniarachchi, during discussions with trade union leaders and representatives of the Professions Supplementary to Medicine and Paramedical Services (PSM and PS), urged them to continue supporting the Health Ministry’s efforts to control COVID-19.
She also instructed Health Secretary, Maj. Gen. Dr. Sanjeewa Munasinghe, and the Director General of Health Services (Acting), Dr. S. Sridharan to take immediate actions to solve the issues faced by the PSM and PS categories in suppressing COVID-19.
Wanniarachchi observed that it was the responsibility of the health sector to protect health personnel working in health institutions, and that there was a need to refer health personnel to PCR testing as they were in constant contact with patients, who were suspect carriers of the virus.
Airport and Aviation Services Sri Lanka Limited, issuing a directive, said all passengers departing from Bandaranaike International Airport and Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport were instructed to have a PCR test done within 72 hours prior to departure from 6:00 p.m. yesterday (18).
A nurse working at a garment factory in Kahathuduwa tested positive for COVID-19. She is a resident of Homagama.
The garment factory, issuing a statement, said the person had been identified during routine PCR testing within the institution. While all precautionary measures to disinfect had been taken, all those who had come into contact with the nurse had been asked to self-isolate.
Several members of the health staff including 14 medical officers serving at Teaching Hospital Kuliyapitiya were quarantined, following a patient with a heart condition testing positive for COVID-19.
Director of the Teaching Hospital, Dr. Prabath Werawatta, said the patient had been admitted on Monday (12), while she had been transferred to the ICU on Thursday (15), as her condition did not improve. She is said to have attended a wedding prior to being admitted to hospital. Four others who had attended the same wedding had been diagnosed with COVID-19, therefore, a PCR test was conducted on the patient on admission.
With the test result being positive, measures were taken to transfer her to the NIID. Arrangements were also made for 53 hospital staffers, both in the ward and the ICU, to be quarantined.
The total number of COVID-19 cases identified from the Brandix Facility in Minuwangoda topped 2,075 by 6:35 p.m. yesterday.