Belize - Belize News - - Great Belize Productions - Belize Breaking News
Home » Health, People & Places » Belize Medical Associates Will Not Accept Suspected COVID-19 Patients
Mar 25, 2020

Belize Medical Associates Will Not Accept Suspected COVID-19 Patients

A private medical facility has plans not to accept COVID-19 cases. The folks at Belize Medical Associate say they cannot accommodate COVID-19 patients because the facility is not properly equipped to so do.  Instead, it is prepared to take on patients with other illnesses, as well as emergency services. Here is Duane Moody with a report.


Duane Moody, Reporting

A second case of the novel coronavirus has been confirmed, this is three days after a thirty-eight-year-old woman tested positive for the virus on San Pedro. This has caused a lockdown on La Isla Bonita, to extend to a further thirty days. Like some businesses, the Belize Medical Associates says it is not taking any chances and has announced that come March twenty-sixth, it will no longer be seeing patients with symptoms and signs of COVID-19.


Marcelo Coyi

Dr. Marcelo Coyi, Chair, Board of Directors, Belize Medical Associates

“Using the ministry guidelines, they had asked that we provide two separate waiting rooms—one for persons with respiratory symptoms and possibly COVID-19 and one of the other. Our layout here at Belize Medical Associates does not allow for it; we have one common waiting room. We tried all kinds of scenarios of what we would do to separate them, put a tent outside and nothing has worked. And so we came to the decision that we can only attend to one population—it is either the COVID-19 or the non-COVID-19. And so because of the layout we have here, we went and decided we’re gonna not see the people with respiratory syndromes.”


According to Doctor Marcelo Coyi, since January as the virus began spreading outside of China, the private health facility put in place certain measures to protect its staff and patients.


Dr. Marcelo Coyi

“Our preparation for COVID-19 began actually about a month and a half ago when it began in China; we knew it would eventually reach Belize. So we have been doing things in stages; like up to yesterday, we have a protocol as you saw when people come in, we ask them if you have a cough or cold or fever and if they have, we give them a mask and put them in a separate room behind me which we have cleared out and then we ask the doctor to see them as urgent as possible so we can attend to them, but get them out of here.”


Doctor Coyi says that it does not apply to asthma patients and that the pharmacy, imaging, lab, emergency and hospital departments will continue to function as usual. The institution, however, will not be accepting those suspect cases that satisfy the COVID 19 factors defined by the Ministry of Health: persons with respiratory symptoms, fever, coughing, running nose and shortness of breath and have travelled overseas within the last fourteen days and those who have been diagnosed with the virus.  The hospital might, however, take on emergency services from the K.H.M.H.


Dr. Marcelo Coyi

“Healthcare has to be provided, we are providing it. And the reason we decide on Thursday because the ministry had said that it was going to open up Cleopatra White as a respiratory clinic. So we are not saying, we just don’t want to see you, but now you go there for your problems. In terms of, we have said and we have spoken about it and we have put in our press release that, at the appropriate time, we are willing to work with Karl Heusner if they are full with COVID-19 patient and they need help, we might do their deliveries, we might do their caesareans, we might do their appendix…we don’t know. But at that appropriate time we will speak about that.”


But is the measure taken to protect the institution’s bottom-line? After all it is a private medical facility.


Duane Moody

“It’s a business so it is that you are trying to protect your bottom-line?”


Dr. Marcelo Coyi

“No, no, no, no, no. What we are saying is that when it becomes a real emergency and there are a lot of patients out there and the ministry cannot, Karl Heusner cannot cope with the normal emergencies, we are willing to help because at that point, we become one healthcare. That’s when the business part goes out—we are here basically to provide healthcare to the Belizean community. I don’t think we have reached that stage.”


Duane Moody for News Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

Advertise Here

Comments are closed