The Couva Hospital

The Couva Hospital. Photo: Dexter Philip

The relatives of one of this country’s first COVID-19 cases are not pleased with the arrangements at the Couva Hospital where patients are being treated.

A woman, who asked not to be named, said her husband was taken to the facility by ambulance after testing positive for the virus on March 18.

The patient has since been moved from the Intensive Care Unit and is off the ventilator.

The wife is now appealing to Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh to allow family members to drop off meals for their loved one.

The woman claimed that her husband was not receiving meals on time at the hospital.

“I am in contact with him and he is not getting breakfast until 10 am. He is getting a sandwich and some water, no hot tea. The patients are given medication early, how can they take this on an empty stomach? And they not getting lunch until 2 p.m,” she said.

The woman said on Monday morning she dropped off a meal at the hospital’s guard booth to be taken to her husband’s ward. The meal was not delivered, she said.

“I am asking the minister to allow us to drop off something for them to eat at the security booth and be guaranteed they will get it. I am not complaining about the medical care but they are not being properly fed,” she said.

The 49-year-old father of two returned to Trinidad from Guyana on March 11.

“He is an offshore worker and returned home on March 11. But he did not immediately show signs of the virus. He passed through immigration at Piarco International Airport and was scanned but his temperature appeared normal,” his wife said.

But six days later, she said her husband developed a high fever. “When we realised he was having fever we isolated him in the house. The children were not in contact with him,” she said.

The woman contacted the Ministry of Health hotline and reported that her husband had been showing signs of COVID-19.

Health officials visited the family and took samples from the man for testing.

The family was contacted around 1 a.m on March 18, confirming that he had tested positive.

The man was transported by ambulance to the Couva Hospital, where he was admitted to ICU.

“He has been recovering since then and was taken out of ICU and placed on a ward. He is not on a ventilator at this time,” the wife said.

Her husband is among 57 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Trinidad and Tobago.

Disobedient patients 

Following statements by Deyalsingh on Monday that the army had to be called in to speak to patients at the Couva Hospital, the woman said she became concerned and contacted her husband.

“But he did not know what I was talking about. He said the patients were not being disruptive and were following all the rules. I did see army at the security booth when I went but my husband said nothing like that happened,” she said.

Deyalsingh said the 40 people who tested positive for COVID-19 and transferred to the facility from Camp Balandra were disobeying restrictions.

He said, “We actually had to call in the army to talk to them to behave themselves to adhere to the quarantine rules and to stop violating the zones that we have put for them.”

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