Patients to be triaged at Health Centres – Fearne

Miguela Xuereb

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Health Minister Chris Fearne said that one the measures which will be rolled out this week includes the triage of patients who turn up at Health Centres.

Dr Fearne was addressing a Partit Laburista activity during which he announced a number of measures which will be taken by this week in relation to novel coronavirus.

On Saturday, the Health authorities announced that three individuals had tested positive for coronavirus. The family who had been on a holiday to Italy were in self-quarantine until they developed symptoms associated with coronavirus. The family was then transferred to Mater Dei Hospital and is being kept in isolation. The parents and the child are recovering and in a good health condition.

As of Monday, new preventive measures will be implemented in health centres. Before people enter where there are other patients, they will be triaged by the paramedics.

Four isolation rooms made up the Infectious Disease Unit at Mater Dei Hospital. Initially two, the number went up to four when the authorities had prepared for a potential Ebola outbreak some years ago. Following the outbreak of coronavirus or Covid-19 in various countries, the health authorities have increased the number of isolation rooms to eighteen, Dr Fearne revealed.

“This is because coronavirus is highly more infectious than Ebola however, Ebola remains deadlier,” he explained.

Isolation rooms have also been set up at the Emergency Department and the Intensive Therapy Unit. The number of beds in the ITU are set to increase, Dr Fearne said.

Another hospital outside Mater Dei Hospital

The government also has a separate hospital outside Mater Dei Hospital. Without disclosing the location, Dr Fearne said that the hospital has been emptied and equipped as part of its preparations against coronavirus. There are twelve beds in this location.

Further, the government is readying Boffa Hospital with some 60 beds in case of an outbreak.

“We’re not anticipating that we will make use of all of these beds. But we are preparing in case it happens. Preparation is important,” Dr Fearne said.

Increase in testing

Testing have increased, Dr Fearne explained. He referred to the testing hub which will be launched in the coming days. The building is well isolated.

Dr Fearne reminded that party supporters about the newly launched helpline 111. Those who think they might be showing coronavirus symptoms should call the helpline. Doctors will come over to the residence to test for the virus.