Head of the Pediatric Department at the Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre, Dr. Shivon Belle-Jarvis warns that adults and children may soon be competing for beds at the hospital.
The Intensive Care Unit (ICU) will now have to accommodate both adults and children in critical condition due to an increase in Covid-19 cases.
“We do not have a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. If we have a child who requires ICU care, then they go to the adult ICU. So, you can see where a challenge would arise. If we’re having a surge in adults an we’re having a surge in children, then we’re getting to a point where our children and adults will be competing for the same space,” Dr. Belle-Jarvis explained.
“If you look at the Pediatric Ward, as it is now, it is a 20-beded unit. We have the potential to create two isolation rooms. Now in the isolated rooms there are two-bedded units but if we are going to isolate someone, clearly its only going to be one child,” she said.
According to Dr. Belle-Jarvis, alternative arrangements are being made to place children who are suffering from covid in a safe area.
“The space for non-covid related illnesses is down to 16 beds. Now our preference is not to admit to the pediatric ward but we can safely isolate there. We are looking at where else our children can be admitted – the Infectious Disease Center, the Covid Ward, Nugent Avenue once it’s ready (NTTC).”
A concerning increase of children testing positive for Covid-19 is as a result of different variants of the virus, particularly the more aggressive Delta variant.
One hundred and forty-six children ages 0-16 years old have tested positive for covid since the start of 2021 compared to nine in 2020.
Dr. Jarvis reported on state media on Wednesday night that 60 per cent of affected children are female while 4 per cent are male.
Additionally, the medical official stated that 60 per cent of children who tested positive for Covid-19 present little to no symptoms.
She also shared details as to which parishes are most affected.
“Forty-seven per cent of the children who have been diagnosed with Covid-19 are from St. John’s but we have to remember that St. John’s is more populated. Eighteen per cent are from St. Paul, followed by 13 per cent from St. Mary, 10 per cent in St. Peter, eight per cent in St. George, three per cent in St. Philip and one per cent in Barbuda. We actually had one case coming from Barbuda,” said Dr. Belle-Jarvis.