Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh says the state will continue to pay for the COVID-19 step-down facility at Brooklyn Settlement, Sangre Grande, for two more months although there are no longer any patients there.
The Eastern Regional Health Authority (ERHA) started using the facility on April 5 but an investigation into how it was chosen was launched days later after patients complained about substandard and “unhabitable conditions.” Deyalsingh said then that he wanted to know why the facility, which was previously a home for the aged, was not up to standard in time for the arrival of patients who were being decanted from the Couva Hospital.
Following the investigation, a report was submitted to him and he sent it to Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi for advice. On Sunday, Al-Rawi said based on what he had seen so far in the report, everything seemed to be in order.
During yesterday’s COVID-19 news conference, Deyalsingh said he had spoken to ERHA CEO Ronald Tsoi-a-Fatt, who informed him that the rental agreement was signed with the facility’s owner Glenroy Davis for three months.
Deyalsingh maintained health authorities had to “prepare for the worst” as the country will be placed in an unfortunate position if they give up the rental facilities and a second wave of the virus occurs.
“This is what is being called being put between a rock and a hard place,” he said.
He said he understands why the focus was on the Sangre Grande facility, adding the issue was a “thorny” one.
The facility was rented from Davis for $105,000 per month, which amounts to $315,000 for the entire rental period. The last patients were discharged from the facility on May 4.