The Tobago Regional Health Authority (TRHA) has advised that all Outpatient Clinics and Elective Surgeries have been temporarily put on hold as of Tuesday due to surging COVID-19 cases on the island.

“This is a measure to reduce the flow of people through the institution, in order to decrease the risk of the spread of COVID-19 at the Island’s only hospital,” it said in a release on Tuesday.

“Despite this approach, the Scarborough General Hospital (SGH) will continue to deliver treatment and care to outpatient clinic patients via the telephone. This situation will be reviewed with a view to resume clinic operations, once the COVID-19 infection rates start to decrease.”

It said Ward Reviews are also on hold, except for Antenatal Ward Reviews for pregnant women, which will be done on Saturdays and Sundays. Only urgent cases for Surgeries, Ultrasound scans, CT scans, and X-rays will continue.

Dr Victor Wheeler, Acting Medical Chief of Staff, said they had to get creative so that health care can be delivered to those most in need. “Our aim is to find ways to continue meeting the needs of our most vulnerable. Some clinic patients will require greater attention and that will be determined upon review, but our clinicians will be reaching out to patients via the telephone to consult on a case-by-case basis,” he said.

The TRHA said telephone consultations with clinic patients will take place after the patient’s file has been reviewed and a determination has been made on whether the patient needs to be seen or a new prescription has to be issued. IT said prescriptions will then be issued at the hospital for collection and patients can access the hospital pharmacy. In the case of some prescriptions, the pharmacy will also be able to issue refills.

Dr Wheeler said “Every effort is being made to reach out via the telephone to patients and if there are any issues, patients will be guided to go to casualty or visit their local health centres.

The public can call 660-4744 for more information and is being urged to use their local health centres as well.
On Tuesday the island recorded 25 additional COVID-19 cases and three deaths. Active cases now stand at 921.

Reporter: Rishard Khan