Crisis Point

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Covid19 update from NCD Governor Hon. Powes Parkop

This afternoon at 3.30pm at the request of CEO of Port Moresby General Hospital Dr Paki Molumi and CEO of St John’s Ambulance who manages the COVID isolation facility at Taurama Aquatic Centre I hosted at Emergency Meeting at TAC. In attendance were Minister Hon. Justin Tkatchenko, senior officials from Port Moresby General Hospital and St John’s Ambulance, City Manager, NCDPHA and my Executive Officer. The summary of the situation is that both facilities are reaching a crisis point and can break down soon unless they are given more support both in terms of resources and public helping to break the transmission of the virus. The summary of the situation is as follows:

At Port Moresby General Hospital entire isolation ward is full to capacity and all other available spaces in other wards have been taken over by Covid19 patients as well. 90 staff of the Hospital have been infected by the virus and have to be given 14 days minimum isolation. They don’t have enough medical staff as a result and will face crisis soon unless more staff are recruited. NCDPHA cannot help as they have to roll out the vaccination and also attend to other medical needs of City Residents. Medical staff are being requested by General Hospitals and PHAs in other Provinces so this is placing lot of pressure on existing capacity at POMGen

Pic: Hon. Powes Parkop

Rapid test on visitors and other patients at the hospital shows 15 percent positive. In the last 3 days total of 60 deaths on arrival have been received by the Hospital. Add on the deaths in the hospital and the statistics for last three days are as follows- 50 deaths on Monday, 40 on Tuesday and 30 today by 3.30pm. Over 50 percent are Covid19 caused death. The situation at TAC is 30 beds all full and sadly one patient passed away today. Their goal has been to get all patients to recover as they are mainly mild infections. 3 staff of St John’s Ambulance have passed away after getting infected. 16 staff in isolation amounting to 10 percent of their staff. We will increase capacity at TAC to 120 beds now to cater for patients from POMGen especially mild or not so severe ones

The picture in the City is is not clearly captured by our surveillance teams due to poor or low testing or surveillance capacity. 40 percent of positive testing are advised to go home due to low level of infection but are isolated at home. Moresby North East is the hot spot for the city with high infection rates. So far 75,182 people age 18 and above have been vaccinated and the target is to reach 160,000 very soon.

Morgue is full. 300 plus bodies at morgue now. Three more containers have been installed to store dead bodies and a mass burial is being planned this week.