A “stringent testing system” should be organised immediately for health workers who come in direct contact with the elderly, Democratic Labour Party vice president Ryan Walters has suggested.
Protecting the most vulnerable from the current outbreak has to be part of Government’s action plan, he told a panel discussion – COVID-19: Time to Reset on Sunday evening Walters said: “It is one thing to deal with the persons that are infected by COVID, but how do we protect regular citizens who are now at risk.
We definitely need to implement a specific testing programme for the staff at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Geriatric Hospital and private health care institutions… anywhere there is healthcare for the elderly.
“We need a programme that will have some level of continuous testing. Those are the ones who are in charge of the most vulnerable in society. That needs to be done with some immediacy.”
The DLP executive also suggested ways to enable and enhance personal health care so as to mitigate the amount of commuting patients might have to do.
He declared: “Persons who are tracking their blood pressure and blood sugar how can we give them devices at a low cost that they themselves can do some level of monitoring at home.
“How can we introduce technology into the mix where persons can communicate with their doctors, physicians and nurses. They can communicate their reading as oppose to commuting and congregating at the hospital or polyclinics.”
Walters urged Government to “get busy” and start finding “sustainable solutions to help prevent the spread of the disease”.
“So blood pressure devices, blood sugar monitors need to be a thing for now,” Walters said. “What are the duty rates on these things? What do we need to take off in terms of duty? Can we talk to the retailers to bring down the cost? What role can Government play to ensure these devices are available? Can we get doctor appointments online? “Some people go to the clinic just to talk to the doctor. So how can that be done using technology? We need to have a stringent system in place to ensure we are monitoring the teams and staff that go in and out of these facilities.”
Walters also suggested that given the volume of testing to be done health officials should consider setting up drive-thru testing areas to lessen the crowd that gather currently for testing.
“With the clusters forming there may be additional need now for more testing and more contact tracing. The Ministry of Health should also consider setting up facilities for drivethru testing.
“Persons won’t have to come to an actual facility and walking in, touch, and this would stop the gathering. There is enough space around that they can have these drive-thru facilities which will help isolate persons as well.”
The vice president added: “I think the Government is moving fast without thinking. They identified the super spreader event but we almost had a super spreader event yesterday [Saturday] when they asked everyone to go to one clinic, They have to think through their actions.
“What we are seeing played out is poor planning. They are in the same mode that they were back in April 2020. They have not scaled up their preparedness and readiness,” Walters claimed. (IMC)