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COVID contingency: Cayman’s field hospital ready ‘by Christmas time’

Cayman will recommission a field hospital, set up in May last year, to prepare for a potential increase in patients requiring care, Chief Medical Officer Dr. John Lee has confirmed.

Speaking on Radio Cayman’s ‘Talk Today‘, where he announced Cayman’s fourth COVID-19-related death, Lee said this will give the Islands 70 to 80 beds of extra capacity for people who need “ward-based care”, but not ventilator support.

“Our field hospital was really amazingly equipped with sinks and lights… it really felt very much like a hospital,” Lee explained, adding “I hope we don’t have to use it, but it is going to be recommissioned in the short term”.

He added that he expected the hospital to be ready to be operational “by Christmas time”.

In November last year, the field hospital project won the UK Association for Project Management’s social project of the year.

Lee revealed that Jasmine hospice has also offered its facility, should the need arise, to assist with any potential capacity issues. Patients who require doctor or nurse supervision, but are not in need of critical care, could be housed at the hospice, he said.

Ramping back from elective services would also free up surgical bed capacity, should the need arise.

Capacity testing at Cayman’s hospitals

In preparation for the removal of quarantine for vaccinated travellers and the effective reopening of the Islands’ borders on 20 Nov., the chief medical officer said the programme board had conducted an exercise with three hospitals, to stress test them and assess capacity.

“Out of that, we developed our understanding of the bed status around Cayman a bit better, such that we now believe there are 55 beds that are put aside across all of the three hospitals,” Lee said.

He explained this means if there are 55 patients with COVID, the hospitals would still be able to provide routine services.

“If we had more patients, then they would need to back off from their elective services and say ‘we would no longer provide routine this and routine that’ and cut back the clinics and so on and redeploy staff from the clinics to the wards and that sort of thing. We’re nowhere near there at the minute,” he stated.

38% of that capacity is used at the present moment, Lee said.

“We haven’t even used half of that capacity,” Lee stressed, thanking healthcare workers for their efforts and collaboration.


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