In light of the rise in active cases of COVID-19 and the prevalence of the highly contagious delta variant, St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) has temporarily halted non-urgent procedures and admissions on all in-patient wards effective Thursday August 12th 2021. This is in a effort to alleviate the burden on the hospital which currently has 18 COVID-19 positive patients admitted at SMMC.
“It is unfortunate that a year and a half later, we are right back to where we were in April of 2020. The decision to temporary halt these procedures and admissions was not taken lightly as we recognize the inconvenience this may cause for patients who may have already made arrangements. We do believe that it is absolutely necessary and in the best interest of our patients and staff”, said Dr. Felix Holiday, Medical Director and Chairman of the Outbreak Management Team (OMT).
SMMC is exploring all avenues and possibilities as it pertains to increasing care capacity. Patients currently admitted will be assessed by their treating physician and discharged if deemed fit with support in the form of Outpatient consultations with their physician if necessary.
“I am once again strongly encouraging unvaccinated persons, especially those with underlying conditions such as diabetes, asthma, overweight and auto-immune diseases, to make the choice to be vaccinated as the majority of our admitted patients are unvaccinated. The vaccine does not prevent you from contracting COVID-19 but it prevents you from becoming severely ill should you contract the virus and minimizes the risk of spreading. The Pfizer vaccine is effective against all known variants of COVID-19. I also encourage persons experiencing flu-like symptoms to make use of CPS’ free testing center”, concluded Dr. Holiday.
Appointments at SMMC’s Outpatient Department (Policlinics) will continue as planned. Patients visiting SMMC are asked to ensure that they fill out the COVID-19 screening questions truthfully, that their masks are worn correctly and that social distancing rules and guidelines are adhered to. Only persons with appointments may be allowed to enter the building with the exception of minors and medically indicated companions. Persons who refuse to comply or cooperate may be kindly asked to leave the premises.
SMMC also reminds the public that patient visiting hours remain suspended. Persons with friends or family admitted to SMMC are asked to make use of text messages and phone and video calls where possible to keep in touch with their loved ones. Persons wishing to receive an update on a patient must contact the patient’s emergency contact (which is typically a spouse or immediate family member) as SMMC does not provide patient information to third parties in an effort to protect and uphold patient confidentiality and their patients’ right to privacy.
SMMC apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause and thanks the public for their cooperation as they provide quality care close to home while keeping their staff and patients safe.