The message from the physician at Curacao Medical Center is clear: “We need resources and human resources now. Staff, doctors and nurses. I am optimistic, but we will not succeed without help from the Netherlands. “
Esther Rooijakkers has worked in Curacao for 2.5 years, but has never experienced such a large influx of patients in such a short time. The third wave cannot be compared to the first two, he explains. “Everyone is surprised. It feels very unreal.”
Walk with noses
On Wednesday, 506 cases were added, a new record. By that day, the total number of infections was still over 2500. A huge increase, and they immediately noticed it in the hospital.
“Everyone is noses. You do not have time to think. Everyone lives from day to day. You get what you can do.”
Curaçao currently has the highest number of crown infections per 100,000 inhabitants in the world. Curaçao comes out at 177. Comparative: In the Netherlands it is 45.
There are not enough IC beds
In one week, three new wards were created for patients with crown. The hospital usually has 16 intensive care beds. This was later supplemented to 30 beds. But this is also very small. “In fact, we’re trying to expand our capacity every day. That means you have to cut back on other health care,” Rooijakkers explains.
There are currently 34 patients in the ICU. At the moment there is little air, there is now room for 42 patients.
According to Rooijakkers, there are two reasons for the sudden increase in the number of infections. “We believe that the British variant plays a big role. And the elections two weeks ago.”
As a physician, he constantly monitors patients. For example, it assesses whether oxygen values are still correct and informs patients’ families. The latter are not allowed to visit.
Sometimes he works long hours. This means that we start at eight and continue until midnight. Meanwhile, doctors from other departments are also helping, but not all are enough. New staff must be transferred. “Help from the Netherlands is needed,” he says firmly.
Press conference at the hospital: “Young people also died”
It is not only the elderly who are affected by the virus. Recently, a boy in his 20s died from a crown on the island, as did a 39-year-old mother of three. Ingemar Merkies, the hospital’s medical director, said this in a press conference.
The hospital has 300 beds, of which 102 beds are currently occupied by Covid patients. The hospital has 52 respirators, of which 18 are still available. There are 20 respirators from the Netherlands and 10 from Bonaire.
The hospital is facing a budget deficit and this was emphasized again. The large number of patients with crown puts extra pressure on the budget. The number of oxygen cylinders was cited as an example. This number has increased tenfold.
According to Merkies, the current condition of the hospital will continue for at least one to two weeks.