A total lockdown. This is the situation at the Caura Hospital in El Dorado, Tunapuna, after a man who tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) was taken there on Thursday night.
When Guardian Media arrived at the location yesterday, the security personnel kept the gate shut and only allowed staff members and other authorised people in and out. They were also not taking chances with their personal health and were outfitted with masks on their faces and rubber gloves on their hands.
Just after 11 am, an Eastern Regional Health Authority vehicle was ushered in and spent just over 20 minutes on the compound. In the front passenger seat was a man dressed in full hazmat protective gear. It is unclear what was the purpose of the visit. However, other people who desired to enter the hospital were denied by the security, even people trying to deliver food to staff members or visit relatives who were there before for tuberculosis treatment.
But while the situation seemed under control at the facility, residents of the El Dorado community were said to be concerned about the COVID-19 virus being so close to home.
Apart from at least two densely populated residential communities, the area also houses two secondary schools – El Dorado East Secondary and El Dorado West Secondary – close to the hospital.
Councillor for Caura/Paradise/Tacarigua Prakash Bharath said, “Burgesses are very unclear. They may have some knowledge of it probably from the television and some of them don’t, but I am saying we need personnel to come inside of here, come into the community, we have a community centre we could meet with the residents and allay their fears.”
Even the taxi drivers who work the route regularly are now mashing the brakes on venturing up the hill where the hospital is situated.
“Well some of the taxi drivers not willing to go up to the hospital i could tell you that up to this morning one of the guys told me he not carrying no staff or visitor,” taxi driver Brian Balroop said.
Balroop has been plying his trade in the community for 15 years and has developed a good rapport with his regular passengers. He said there are now some worried residents.
“Some of the people don’t like the fact that they are using Caura as a centre, they say is a populated area and it could pass through here and you don’t know what could happen. Plenty people here don’t really like that idea.”
But Balroop said has been paying attention to the advisories on the news and is not too concerned and would continue his regular work once the situation does not get out of hand.