The Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) is celebrating the third anniversary of the Ocean View Infectious Disease Hospital, a facility that has played a pivotal role in Guyana’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the care of infectious disease patients.
In March 2020, Guyana faced its first case of COVID-19, a moment marked by both uncertainty and determination. Regrettably, it also marked the country’s first recorded COVID-19 fatality and at that critical juncture, the Ministry of Health, through the GPHC embarked on an unprecedented journey to brace for the impending challenges.
Recognizing the highly infectious nature of COVID-19, a provisional 14-bed Intensive Care Unit (ICU) was established to cater to critically ill patients. To make room for this, several hospital departments temporarily closed, underscoring the hospital’s unwavering commitment to tackling the demands of the pandemic.
As cases surged, plans were set in motion to transform the Ocean View hotel into a dedicated COVID-19 hospital, marking a significant turning point in the battle against the virus. On September 1, 2020, the initial group of stable COVID-19 patients, primarily maternity patients, were transferred to the Ocean View Infectious Disease Hospital.
The ICU capacity at this facility swiftly expanded to 28 beds and then 38 beds, providing essential care to critically ill patients requiring ventilation. Furthermore, the hospital also offered services such as dialysis, surgical interventions (including c-sections for expectant mothers, trauma, and pediatric surgeries), physiotherapy, and vital physiological support for COVID-19 patients.
Confronting staffing challenges posed by the pandemic, GPHC marshaled medical staff from its own ranks, the Ministry of Health, and other regions like Linden, transforming them into frontline healthcare heroes. Decontamination stations were established within the hospital premises to ensure the safety of the staff. In recognition of the difficulties some staff faced with public transportation due to virus-related fears, GPHC provided housing and transportation assistance.
Today, while COVID-19 is no longer deemed a pandemic, the Ocean View Infectious Disease Hospital continues to care for a limited number of COVID-19 patients, as well as individuals afflicted with other infectious diseases such as monkeypox, tuberculosis, MRSA, along with GPHC lodgers.
Since its inception in 2020, the Ocean View Infectious Disease Hospital has tended to 4,448 patients, with a peak of 112 hospitalized COVID-19 patients at a single time. Over the years, approximately 50 dedicated medical staff members have tirelessly served within its walls.