A patient, suspected of being infected with the H1N1 virus (Swine Flu), has been warded at the Scarborough General Hospital.
Guardian Media was informed that the patient went to the hospital over the weekend, with symptoms of the virus.
This was confirmed by Health Secretary Agatha Carrington.
“The report that we got from officials indicate that there was one patient with the virus,” she told Guardian Media.
She said she cannot confirm whether the patient has the virus, until the patient’s results return from the laboratory.
“We do not confirm the cases, we will send all our samples to the public health laboratory and they will say what it is,” she said.
Asked if Tobago’s health care system is ready to deal with patients suffering from the virus, she said: “H1N1 is not a new disease and we are equipped.”
Over the weekend, social media was abuzz with information that the hospital was put in emergency mode as its Internal Medicine department was short-staffed.
This after a letter from the Medical Chief of Staff Dr Rufuro Celestine surfaced instructing staff to change how the hospital normally operates.
“We can no longer provide specialist medical care to our adult patients,” the letter said.
However, Secretary Carrington said this was not the case.
She said “services at the hospital are not being compromised” as other doctors were called out to work on the ward.
The Ministry of Health has provided guidelines to prevent contracting the Swine Flu:
· Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
· Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
· Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs. Where possible, avoid close contact with sick people.
· While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
· Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. After using a tissue, throw it in the bin and wash your hands.
The Ministry is also advising children between 6 months to 5 years, pregnant women and adults over 65 and people with chronic illnesses such as diabetes and asthma, to take extra precautions to prevent contracting the virus.