The swine flu death toll has now climbed to four and health officials at San Fernando General Hospital are limiting the number of visitors to the wards.
This was revealed yesterday as officials of the Health Ministry held a news conference at the South West Regional Health Authority office in San Fernando. Executive Medical Director Dr Albert Persaud said five people–four men and one woman–between the ages of 30 to 49, died at San Fernando General Hospital over the past week. He said: "Since Wednesday, we have lost three more persons whose deaths were positive for the H1N1 virus. "That is a total of five people in the South West Regional Health Authority in the past week that we lost. "They were all treated at hospital and at the time of their passing were all severely ill," Persaud added. However, medical director of the hospital Dr Stephen Ramroop said four were confirmed as having the H1N1 virus, while the fifth person died from seasonal influenza. He also said that two more people were being treated at hospital for suspected swine flu. Swab tests samples have been sent to Carec for testing. Despite this, Ramroop said there was no influx of patients at the Accident and Emergency Department, as there was clinical management of patients. He said after post-mortems, new disclosures were revealed.
"We have identified new findings of the disease which we have discussed at clinical level and we will be introducing another intervention which is in keeping with literature of physicians across the world, to add another scheme of treatment that will help," Ramroop said. He said people who come to casualty complaining of respiratory problems were directed to the ambulance bay where they are medically examined. Those who were critically ill are taken to isolated wards. Asked about the safety of staff, Ramroop said that additional training seminars were being held for staff. He said an adequate stock of protective gear has been made available for staff from the Health Ministry. Ramroop also denied reports that there was a shortage of nursing staff at the Intensive Care Unit. He said those patients who develop a mild case of the flu are sent home and are monitored by specially trained nurses.