WDRH staff protest unpreparedness for COVID-19

– possible coronavirus death still “uninvestigated” – DCMO

It was high drama at the West Demerara Regional Hospital (WDRH) on Friday morning after medical staffers refused to enter the facility at Vreed-en-Hoop, WCD, following a suspected COVID-19 death the day before and the failure by authorities to sanitise the hospital.

Nurses refusing to enter the facility on Friday

Particularly, they complained of the admission of visitors into the facility without any screening and the shortage of supplies. More alarming, however, is suspicions by staffers that there was a positive case of the virus at the facility.
The employees are alleging that on Thursday evening, a male died at the facility and it was a suspected case of the novel coronavirus. When contacted, however, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Karen Boyle, indicated to Guyana Times that the ‘rumours’ have not been investigated as yet.

The West Demerara Regional Hospital

But a social media post from the Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) Administration on Friday stated that staff at the West Demerara Hospital have had direct contact with the suspected COVID-19 patient, who died, and as such, they are on self-quarantine, pending the test result.
Further, it noted that the hospital has been sanitised two times since the death of the suspected individual.
With the COVID-19 epidemic in great effect, the implementation of greater hygienic practices has been highly recommended to prevent any further spread.
At about 06:00h on Friday morning, nurses gathered in front of the facility, located in Region Three, where they were greeted by locked gates.
When Guyana Times arrived at the medical facility, one of the nurses explained that they were denied entry until some form of screening was done. However, after some time had elapsed, they were allowed to enter along with visitors.
Thereafter, the nurses raised concerns that these persons were allowed to enter without any form of screening or sanitising – which poses a major threat to their lives.
“Some nurses came since like 06:00h and the gate was locked. We were told that no entry until we get somebody to screen. We stand up till 07:55h and they open the gate to allow everybody to go in, all the visitors to the different wards,” the health worker explained.
“We are saying that, if you want to screen the nurses, you have to screen everybody. We’re at risk when you send these people from all walks of life around the place and they’re saying to us that we can go and work because we’re taking chances every day in the bus and car,” she added.
The medical staff went on to say that there are insufficient disinfecting supplies to ensure that the surroundings are kept clean.
“A next thing is that we don’t have enough things to work with, like sanitiser, bleach, Lysol, alcohol and those things so how are we working? However, they promise to sanitise the place. As of yesterday, they had a suspected case that die and we’re saying that they need to sanitise the whole area…We need to have the place sanitised,” the nurse urged.
By midday, some employees of the facility opted to return home while others braved the scorching sun until they received word from the administrator or Regional Executive Officer (REO), who were both in a meeting. “We will stay outside until they sanitise the area and we feel safe ’cause that person that died went to two other departments.”
Another said, “Some things are irreversible. You don’t wait until things happen. People want to be certain that everything is okay. We came and meet the crowd and if the nursing staff saying that they not taking chances to go in, then we the utility staff have to touch everything so we don’t know what next is coming.”
Nevertheless, the Regional Administration is urging citizens to take all the necessary precautions and remain calm. It called for adherence to the advice from the Ministry of Public Health and urged persons not to be misled by false information.
Meanwhile, while delivering the daily update hours later, caretaker Public Health Minister, Volda Lawrence said the number of coronavirus cases in Guyana still stood at five.
The Ministry would have received 1800 kits so far, which were donated for testing for COVID-19.