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Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, has disclosed that the public health system now has 118 ventilators to provide care for coronavirus (COVID-19) patients across the island, when the need arises.

Speaking at a virtual press briefing on Monday (September 7) at the Office of the Prime Minister Media Centre in Kingston, Dr. Tufton said there is no truth to reports that the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) is out of ventilators.

“When we started on this and in preparation for what is now community transmission phase, the public health system had 25 ventilators, so commendations are in order for our medical team, the Government, the Prime Minister, and the Ministry of Finance that has made the resources available,” he said.

“We have coordinated procurement with our overseas partners and bilateral partners in some instances, and we now have a fairly good batch of ventilators -= high-tech, brand-new – and right now I don’t think we’re using 10 per cent of them, so we have a significant capacity as it relates to ventilators,” Dr.Tuffton added.

On the matter of available bed spaces for COVID-19 patients, which was an issue recently at UHWI, the Minister said that has been addressed and a new ward has been set up at the facility with 24 additional beds.

He explained that the hospital had initially set up a COVID-19 ward with 17 beds, but those beds had been fully occupied, hence the hospital had to shift around other bed spaces and reconfigure other spaces to accommodate COVID-19 patients.

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