Wed | Oct 21, 2020

‘It cannot come too soon’ - Trelawny welcomes plans for COVID-19 field hospital

Published:Thursday | September 24, 2020 | 12:12 AMLeon Jackson/Gleaner Writer
Kenneth Grant, chairman of the Falmouth Hospital.
Kenneth Grant, chairman of the Falmouth Hospital.

Western Bureau:

With the COVID-19 cases in Trelawny tripling over the past three weeks, Kenneth Grant, chairman of the Falmouth Hospital in the western parish, is pleased that the institution will host a 36-bed field hospital for the western end of the island.

“We have 60 positive cases of which 42 have recovered,” said Grant. “The hospital only has six beds designated to COVID-19 cases, so we are happy ... .

“My hope is that this will be soon and very soon. With the spike in cases in the parish, it cannot come too soon,” added Grant.

The Falmouth field hospital is one of four announced by the Government as the island experiences a spike in COVID-19 cases and a rising death toll.

A second 36-bed facility, to be based at the Mandeville Regional Hospital in Manchester, has been announced for central Jamaica

The other two field hospitals will be based in the Corporate Area, where the bulk of the cases reside. A 40-bed facility is being erected at the National Chest Hospital and a 36-bed facility at the St Joseph Hospital in St Andrew.

Like Grant, Dr Leighton Perrins, the senior medical officer for Trelawny, has welcomed the news that the parish will be getting a field hospital.

“Though it is intended to serve the western region, it’s a step closer to the hospital being designated a Type B hospital,” said Perrins, who said that an additional eight doctors would be needed to operate the field hospital.


Dr Alverston Bailey, professor of occupational health and safety at the University of Technology, Jamaica, who has been critical of the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic, also welcomed the move.

“The field hospital is an excellent and proactive move. When you consider the spike caused by the community spread of the virus, this is a good move,” noted Bailey.

“There will be a need for additional sewage work, plus other basic necessities and staffing,” said Bailey. “I am recommending that the Government work with doctors in the private sector. They have a wealth of experience and can provide appropriate manpower to assist in this major crisis, which we have on our hands.”

Bailey is calling on the Government to adjust the method of how Jamaicans are receiving the message about the spike, saying that until they have that awareness, they will not treat the pandemic with the seriousness it deserves.