The recent outbreaks of Covid-19 among the community following over a year of no community spread have highlighted key areas of Cayman’s healthcare service provision that needed strengthening in order to cope with the eventual reopening of the country, stated Health Minister Sabrina Turner, who was speaking at a press conference held on Thursday.
“We have learnt that there are areas of our public health response that definitely need more support, in fact, the public healthcare system is ramping up in several ways to ensure we will be ready to meet the challenges that may land on our doorstep in the coming months,” she advised.
She said they had just increased the recruitment of additional staff and that had been going well and, in particular, she was pleased to hear of the new job placements of the many Caymanians that would help to enhance Cayman’s Covid response.
“We also continue to provide additional services to Public Health and HSA to ensure full readiness of the healthcare system in anticipation of any surge in our population,” she said.
Cayman had a total capacity across the healthcare sectors in the Cayman Islands of a bed capacity of 246. HSA had an additional capacity of seven beds with the activation of the respiratory care unit as part of the Covid-19 response plan, she stated. Care of seriously ill patients who needed ventilator support would be coordinated between the Cayman Islands Hospital and Health City, with current combined capacity of 42 ventilators. There were also two ventilators at Faith Hospital for patients in the Sister Islands, but the seriously ill there would be cared for on Grand Cayman. In terms of health sector workforce, at the end of August there were approximately 321 actively practicing physicians and 515 nurses. The HSA had an adequate stock of FDA approved medications and more were on order, she added.
Chief Medical Officer Dr John Lee said Cayman’s bed capacity per capita far exceeded other places in the world, such as the UK and Australia, and that Cayman residents were well provided in terms of hospital cover, but as an island nation, Cayman needed to ensure it was as ready as possible so that, should Covid cases ramp up significantly, they did not dominate hospitals and that other healthcare issues could still be adequately addressed.