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Field hospital to reduce COVID pressure in Clarendon

Published:Friday | September 3, 2021 | 12:08 AMOlivia Brown/Gleaner Writer
An example of a field hospital that was set up at the Spanish Town Hospital.
An example of a field hospital that was set up at the Spanish Town Hospital.

The completion of a 40-bed field hospital in May Pen, Clarendon, is expected to relieve some of the burden on public-health facilities in the parish with the sharp rise in the number of COVID-19 cases.

Acting chief executive officer (CEO) of the May Pen Hospital, Eugena Clarke-James, says the facility is expected to be ready by September 8.

With the surge in COVID-19 cases, Clarke-James said the completion of the field hospital is highly anticipated. “The need for the field hospital is very vital as we have surpassed the capacity within the hospital. We have never seen anything like this before. The rate of COVID-positive patients and highly suspected cases is really alarming, “ she said.

With the isolation ward and the pre-isolation centre full to capacity, the CEO told The Gleaner that they are forced to find alternative space within the hospital for COVID-19 patients. She said that the field hospital will, therefore, establish some form of infection control and optimise service delivery.


Clarke-James explained that the shortage of oxygen has added more pressure to an already overwhelmed staff.

“They have gone above and beyond the call of their duties. We are pressured even with the shortage of oxygen in our facility. So many persons are coming in with respiratory illnesses, and it’s really sad to know that when they come in, we cannot find the resources to take care of them,” she told The Gleaner.

Stating that the larger percentage of COVID-19 positive patients are unvaccinated, Clarke-James used the opportunity to implore Jamaicans to get vaccinated against the dreaded respiratory disease.

“By getting the vaccine, you have a fair chance of surviving. So come out and get vaccinated and let us help our country,” she implored.

As at Wednesday, September 1, Clarendon recorded 3,475 COVID-19 cases.

In the meantime, the hospital CEO commended alumina refinery Jamalco for a donation of $3.2 million, which will be used to fund the start-up of the hospital’s laboratory. Clarke-James also lauded the support of several other stakeholders in the parish, including Custos Rotulorum of Clarendon William Shagoury, Cousins Construction, Stewart’s Hardware, and businessman Steven Liao, owner of National Self-Serve Wholesale.