SMMC halts non-emergency medical procedures, Policlinics to continue
August 19, 2020 12:26 pmCAY HILL -- In light of the resurgence of active COVID-19 cases on St. Maarten, St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) has temporarily halted all non-emergency medical procedures and surgeries until further notice. This is in an effort to accommodate the recent influx of COVID-19 patients requiring hospitalization over the past few days and create additional capacity in terms of beds and staff should the need arise. At the time of the Outbreak Management Team (OMT) meeting on Wednesday morning, there was a total of 15 COVID-19 positive patients admitted to SMMC for treatment and an additional positive patient who was being assessed in the COVID-19 Triage Containers outside of the Emergency Room but had not yet been admitted. All policlinics (Outpatient Departments) will continue with scheduled appointments and stringent safety measures which include the enforcement of the mandatory universal masking policy for staff and visitors, frequent disinfection and sanitation of the premises, pre-triage and risk assessment questionnaire, mandatory hand hygiene upon entering the hospital and the continuation of the suspension of in-patient visiting hours will be continued. SMMC is currently in the process of increasing its capacity with the addition of a Medical Container Park (MCP) that will replace the ICU tent and the Mobile Medical Pavilion (MMP) while offering increased storm resilience. The ICU section of this facility is expected to be completed within short with patients being able to be transferred upon completion. The completion of the medium care section will follow soon thereafter. The completion of the facility would allow for COVID-19 patients to be transferred, which would either enable the resumption of non-emergency procedures and surgeries or would help increase the COVID-19 capacity, should the need arise. Patients will not be kept at the MCP once a storm poses a direct threat to St. Maarten and will be transported to SMMC. In case of storm threat, high risk, non-COVID-19 patients may be evacuated to an approved nearby evacuation facility, or airlifted to a hospital within the Dutch Kingdom if needed. 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.