The COVID-19 Isolation Facility in Scarborough Hospital, Tobago. (Image: VINDRA GOPAUL)

The Tobago Regional Health Authority (TRHA) says it has ruled out using the newly built Roxborough Hospital to increase COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit treatment in Tobago.

Speaking at the Tobago Health Update media briefing on August 5th, Medical Chief of Staff (Ag.), Dr Victor Wheeler, said the facility is too far from the Scarborough Hospital, where patients are treated.

“We did have a team look at the Roxborough Hospital. However, because of the distance from where most of the [COVID] patients have been managed … it was found more feasible to expand ICU services at the fort than consider Roxborough at this time,” Dr Wheeler explained.

The COVID facility at Fort King George, Scarborough, which formerly housed the Tobago Rehabilitation and Empowerment Centre (TREC), is currently used as a COVID treatment centre.

Dr Wheeler said he preferred that the COVID ICU at the Scarborough hospital be referred to as ICU/High Dependency.

“The ICU at Signal Hill is a combination of ICU and HDU.  Not all patients there would need ventilating,” he noted.  “With respect to the ICU capacity, even though we have five beds in the ICU, we also have three spaces in Accident and Emergency [Department] where patients who are COVID positive can be observed and monitored.”

He added: “We are in the process of upgrading TREC, and the Scarborough General Hospital at the fort to add another seven ICU beds with the five ICU beds at Signal Hill. Ventilators have been identified. I can’t give an exact timeline for when TREC will be operational.”

According to the TRHA, two additional people have died from COVID- 19 in Tobago at 10 pm on August 4. The total number of COVID- related deaths now stands at 48, the authority said.

There were 37 additional COVID cases in the previous 24 hours, bringing the total number of active cases to 447.

The TRHA also said 14,440 people are vaccinated, with 9,939 of those having been given their second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.