SMMC making COVID care facilities storm resilient

June 29, 2020 8:00 pm

CAY HILL -- In an effort to weather any possible storms, St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) has made arrangements for its COVID care facilities (the Mobile Medical Pavilion and the ICU tent) to be made more storm resilient.

Both COVID care facilities will be transformed into a storm resilient medical container park in which special medically outfitted containers (so-called “hospitainers”), donated by the Dutch Ministry of Health, will be welded together and securely anchored to a solid concrete foundation. Each container is outfitted with airco units and the cluster of containers will be covered by one roof as additional temperature control. The project is scheduled to be finalized before the peak of the 2020 hurricane season and SMMC may use the donated medical containers for an extended period ensuring usage beyond the present hurricane season, if needed.

SMMC’s Medical Director, Dr. Felix Holiday stated: “In the first phase of the COVID pandemic, SMMC had to act swiftly to get additional COVID care facilities realized in order to deal with the rapidly increasing number of admitted COVID patients. Thanks to our very hard working and dedicated team and with the help of the Government of St. Maarten, the Dutch Government and The World Bank, we got that accomplished in a record-breaking time. At this point, whereby our COVID care capacity is increased and with the local COVID situation stabilized, we are in a much better position to deal with another surge and as such we have entered the next phase which is making our COVID care facilities more storm resilient. This is not only with the present hurricane season in mind but also taking into account that we do not know for how long we will need the extra capacity as COVID could be around for the foreseeable future”, Dr. Holiday concluded.

The COVID medical container park will have 16 beds of which 4 are ICU beds which include having dedicated ventilator capability. SMMC aims to keep all COVID care outside of the hospital but in case of a surge in admissions, also has COVID capacity inside SMMC with 6 ICU beds and another 8 medium care beds, all of which are in isolation. No patients will be kept inside the medical containers once a storm poses a direct threat to St. Maarten and will be evacuated to a safe location.

The COVID medical container park will be erected at the same location as where the present Mobile Medical Pavilion and ICU Tent are located, which is opposite SMMC at the Southern side of Raoul Illidge Sports Complex. In the event of a surge, a team of volunteer medical professionals are on standby for the foreseeable future to assist SMMC’s team of doctors and nurses with the care and treatment of COVID patients. The project to make the COVID care facilities more storm resilient is made possible in part by funds from the St. Maarten Recovery, Reconstruction and Resilience Trust Fund that is funded by The Netherlands and managed by The World Bank for which SMMC expresses its gratitude.


[ Caption Picture: One of the donated medical containers (so-called “Hospitainers”) by the Dutch Ministry of Health, which will be used in the storm resilient COVID medical container park ]