CAY HILL — Ahead of the transfer of care to the new storm-resilient Auxiliary Care Facility (ACF), St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) gave a tour to the Honorable Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs, the Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor (VSA) Richard Panneflek and the Inspectorate of Health Dr. Earl Best on Monday, October 5th.
The off-premises ACF features sixteen (16) beds of which six (6) are ICU and ten (10) are medium-care. Of the ten (10) medium-care beds, four (4) are in complete isolation and segregation and are intended for suspected COVID-19 patients who are awaiting PCR results. In the event of a surge in COVID-19 related hospitalizations, SMMC has an additional isolation capacity of eleven (11) beds within the hospital.
The ACF was created by welding special medically outfitted containers (Hospitainers), donated by the Dutch Ministry of Health, and shipping containers together and securely anchoring them to a solid concrete foundation. The containers are all connected by way of a one-way hallway with sealed doors between each section. The main hallway in the ACF connecting all rooms is outfitted with vents that allow fresh air in while purifying the air inside using HEPA-filters before releasing it back into the environment as clean, virus-free air. The entire facility is covered by one roof as additional temperature control.
In the event that a storm or hurricane poses a direct threat to St. Maarten, COVID-19 patients will be transferred to SMMC. Non-COVID-19 patients may be evacuated to an approved, nearby facility or airlifted to a hospital within the Dutch Kingdom if needed.
The project to make SMMC’s COVID-19 facilities more storm resilient was made possible in part by funds from the St. Maarten Recovery, Reconstruction and Resilience Trust fund, funded by The Netherlands and managed by the World Bank. SMMC extends its gratitude to its employees, the Government of St. Maarten, the Dutch Ministry of VWS, the World Bank and the AMI team for all of their contributions towards the health and wellbeing of the people of St. Maarten.
SMMC urges persons experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 such as fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headaches, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting and diarrhea to CALL their House Doctor or contact the CPS hotline at 914 (or 542-1122, 542-1222). Persons experiencing symptoms such as trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, the inability to wake or stay awake and bluish lips or face should contact the Ambulance Department by calling 912 and await further instructions.
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[Photo 1: (L-R) Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor (VSA) Richard Panneflek, VSA Inspectorate Dr. Earl Best, SMMC’s Medical Director and OMT Chairman Dr. Felix Holiday, Honorable Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs and AMI Physician Dr. Kiarash Mirkia]
[Photo 2: A Medium-Care room at the ACF]