Hospital and Infectious Disease Control Centre both full, minister says

The Infectious Disease Control Centre was opened last year
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With both the country’s lone public hospital and the Infectious Disease Control Centre now full amid soaring Covid cases, Health Minister Sir Molwyn Joseph has said the health system is “caving in”.

Were it not for “contingencies” such as the recently completed Sir Cuthwin Lake Medical Centre to take the “overflow”, the picture would be all the more stark, he told parliament on Thursday.

The latest published statistics from the Ministry of Health revealed there to be 56 people hospitalised with Covid-related complications, increasing pressure on Antigua and Barbuda’s limited resources.

Health Minister Sir Molwyn Joseph

The nation has also recorded 63 deaths linked to the coronavirus since it was first detected here in March 2020.

Joseph told parliament that the country usually recorded 200-250 deaths a year. In just the first nine months of this year, “we have over 300”, he said.

“Our health system is caving in except for the fact that we have some contingencies,” the minister explained.

He warned that the public cemetery was “full” too.

“How many more people must die before it gets the attention; how many more people you want to die before you get busy,” he added, referring to lingering vaccine hesitancy among many local residents.

Chief Health Inspector Sharon Martin recently said 2021 had already seen 305 burials at the public cemetery, a significantly higher number than previous years.

To date, just over 38,500 people are cited on the Ministry of Health’s most recent dashboard as being fully vaccinated in Antigua and Barbuda, although statistics showing precisely how many of them reside full-time in the country remain elusive. More than 9,000 are said to be partially vaccinated.

The figures place the nation still some way off achieving government’s target of jabbing 65,000 residents.

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