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Mar 26, 2020

Belize Healthcare Partners Limited Prepared to Take In COVID-19 Patients

Belize Healthcare Partners Limited, a private facility, is taking a different approach to deal with an anticipated health crisis in the case of a COVID-19 outbreak. The hospital is functioning as normal, but it has also prepared to accept patients that may be affected by the virus and has converted a section of the facility into an Intensive Care Unit.  News Five’s Duane Moody headed to healthcare partners to see the transformation.


Duane Moody, Reporting

Belize Healthcare Partners Limited continues to function as normal and stands ready with its staff to provide medical services to COVID-19 patients. Since the outbreak in Wuhan, China and realising that the outbreak would evolve into a pandemic, the private medical facility has been preparing its medical professionals and staff for the eventuality. Now, there are two confirmed cases of the virus and at this time are contained on Ambergris Caye. But in the event that it spreads to mainland, the institution has retrofitted isolation units for COVID-19 patients at its facility.


Andre Sosa

Dr. Andre Sosa, Chief of Staff, Belize Healthcare Partners Limited

“This hospital from the time it was built, all the rooms were equipped with medical air and medical gases, so in essence it made it possible for us to create a physical barrier, a separation between a set of rooms and the rest of the hospital. The area where we are now, the Isolation Unit, is self contained. We have at present three rooms set aside, two with ventilators, one for patients who may be ill but not requiring ventilation. We plan to expand by two more rooms so in essence, we should be able to have four ventilation capable rooms and one room set aside for patients who don’t require ventilation.”


Chief of Staff, Doctor Andre Sosa says that given the necessary provisions as it relates to personal protective gear and ventilators, the private hospital can become a fourteen-room Intensive Care Unit hospital.


Dr. Andre Sosa

“We have to be with our patients, with the Belizean people, both in the good times and in the bad times. There is an emergency that is looming and we have to prepare for the worst case scenario, in which case, there won’t be any differentiation between private and public entities. In the event of a national emergency, we are prepared to do our part. Certainly there is a lot of apprehension, nobody wants to die.”


Jorge Hidalgo

Dr. Jorge Hidalgo, Internal Medical/Intensive Care Specialist

“In this epidemic, all of us are at risk. Some of us are more vulnerable than others. We need to care for our elderly people and especially for those that have some medical background and I refer to those patients that have history of hypertension, congested heart failure; patients that have history of chronic bronchitis, emphysema. In Belize, what is the other group of patients to look after are those persons with diabetes because those patients most of the time, the diabetes lead to develop other conditions.”


For some time now, the medical facility has installed sanitization posts manned by a nurse, who, guided by the Ministry of Health’s advisory, checks persons to differentiate between patients who may have respiratory complications similar to that of COVID-19 and those with other health conditions.


Dr. Andre Sosa

“There is a welcome committee for patients. Essentially it is a nurse who takes the person’s temperature, makes the hand sanitizer available, but also goes through a checklist of questions to identify those who might have fever, coughing or any symptoms that could be related to COVID-19. But given the fact that we are in the flu season still and there are people with cough and cold, we have to check everyone. The COVID-19 patient won’t come with a name tag or with an ID saying he or she has it. But at the same time, we have to protect our other patients. We do carry on with haemodialysis here. We have ill patients with other conditions where their immune systems are compromised and of course he general patient population.”


Around the hospital, there are various signs to promote proper hand washing techniques and social distancing when entering the facility. There is also a hotline number, which persons can call if they believe they have symptoms of COVID-19.


Dr. Andre Sosa

“The doctor on the line will make the necessary questions and queries and then they would advise you what to do, where you can seek help. As it is, our pharmacy also has made provisions to be able to deliver medications to your home so that you don’t have to come out.”


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.

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