JOINT PRESS RELEASE FROM TCI HOSPITAL, TCI GOVERNMENT AND THE NATIONAL HEALTH INSURANCE BOARD
Statement on Confirmed COVID-19 Overseas Transfer Patient in Jamaica
(Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands – Saturday, 18 April, 2020): The Turks and Caicos (TCI) Hospital wishes to confirm that a patient who was recently transferred back to the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) in Jamaica on April 16th 2020 for advanced critical care later tested positive for COVID-19.
The patient was admitted to the Cheshire Hall Medical Centre for an emergency surgical re-operation, which was life-saving and required a transfer overseas for Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and other tertiary level support not currently available in the TCI. An overseas referral was therefore generated and forwarded to the TCI National Health Insurance Board.
The overseas medical facility was contacted by the TCI National Health Insurance Board and was provided with the required clinical information on the patient. This information was reviewed, and the patient was accepted by the overseas medical facility. The same process was followed to engage the Air Ambulance companies.
The Ministry of Health in Jamaica in consultation with other relevant authorities granted the standard approval to accept the critical and time-sensitive medical transfer via the treatment abroad program (TAP). There was an obvious reason for the patient’s medical condition and the patient did not meet the case definition for suspected COVID-19 in the Turks and Caicos Islands or Jamaica.
Based on the UHWI’s pre-screening form, there were no clinical suspicions related to COVID-19. The patient was fully isolated shortly after arrival and tested within 12 hours out of an abundance of caution. The results returned as positive for COVID-19 and all parties involved in the delivery of medical services to the patient have been notified.
The patient remains in stable condition in the COVID-19 ICU. TCI Hospital, the TCI Ministry of Health and TCI National Health Insurance Board wishes to extend best wishes to the affected patient for a speedy recovery given the diagnosis. Due to patient confidentiality, no further details can be released.
While medical teams across the Cheshire Hall Medical Centre and Ministry of Health continue to operate with elevated IPC precautions, the TCI Hospital in collaboration with the TCI Ministry of Health is currently reviewing the timelines leading up to the patient’s diagnosis. In addition, contact tracing was immediately activated in collaboration with the public health team to identify anyone who require screening and/or quarantine based on their risk level for exposure.
The overwhelming majority of patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 locally and globally present with symptoms in accordance with the case definition established by the World Health Organization (WHO). However, there is increasing scientific speculation into the occurrence of atypical presentations as the global pandemic evolves. TCI Hospital continues to monitor the latest evidence-based findings related to COVID-19 case definitions, conduct risk assessments and adjust infection prevention and control (IPC) procedures accordingly.
It is a standard protocol across many health care facilities to conduct a pre-screening questionnaire and/or precautionary COVID-19 testing as a risk mitigation measure upon acceptance and/or receipt of international patients.