The medical shelter at Damas Hospital in Ponce.
As a result of rapidly rising cases of COVID-19 in Puerto Rico, International Medical Corps has been collaborating with local hospitals to help them prepare for and respond effectively to COVID-19, integrated as far as possible into our response to the Puerto Rico earthquakes. As of May 5, 2020, COVID-19 has caused 1,843 confirmed infections and 54 related deaths in Puerto Rico according to the World Health Organization.
To help bring this pandemic to an end, International Medical Corps is supporting healthcare worker safety in the 30 countries where we provide services. We are leveraging our 35 years of experience and the knowledge of our epidemiologists from the 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak, the 2003 SARS outbreaks, and infectious disease response efforts to ensure that at-risk countries and regions, like Puerto Rico, are best able to respond to COVID-19 outbreaks.
Globally, International Medical Corps is supporting relief efforts with the provision of supplies, screenings and case management, capacity building, mental health and psychosocial support, and the deployment of an Epidemic Response Team, as needed. For more details on our global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, visit: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/emergency-response-to-the-coronavirus-2019-ncov/
In Puerto Rico, we are collaborating with the Department of Health, Damas Hospital in Ponce, Hospital Universitario de Dr. Ramon Ruiz Arnau (HURRA) in Bayamon, Hospital San Cristobal in Juana Diaz, and Interamericano de Medicina Avanzada (HIMA) Cupey in San Juan to help them prepare for and respond effectively to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Damas Hospital is a 330-bed teaching hospital in Ponce and Hospital San Cristobal is a public hospital located in Juana Díaz. The San Cristobal Health Network also includes three primary care clinics in nearby rural municipalities. Both Ponce and Juana Díaz are located on the southern coastal plain region — close to the epicenter of the series of earthquakes that damaged infrastructure, destroyed homes and reduced access to critical services in January 2020. We deployed four medical shelters to Damas Hospital and will supply additional shelters to San Cristobal next week to provide medical surge support that is integrated within our existing emergency response interventions for those affected by the earthquakes. Damas Hospital is using the temporary medical shelters to create an additional Emergency Department, and San Cristobal will do the same, with the inclusion of extra respiratory wards as well.
HURRA is a 306-bed hospital administered by the Department of Health and is affiliated with the University of Puerto Rico. HIMA-Cupey is a 70-bed hospital located in San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico, which has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the territory. The HIMA Health Network also extends into San Juan, Caguas, Fayardo and Bayamon. We are supplementing the capacity at the hospitals with three temporary medical shelters at HURRA and additional shelters to be constructed at HIMA-Cupey next week. At HURRA, the medical shelters are being used as an extra triage and check-in area for two patients at a time, allowing for six feet of space in-between them. HIMA-Cupey will use the temporary medical shelters to screen patients for COVID-19 outside of the Emergency Department, to decrease the risk of exposure for non-coronavirus patients.
Within International Medical Corps’ temporary medical shelters, our four partner hospitals will have the much needed additional capacity to support patients who test positive for COVID-19.
We thank the GlobalGiving community for continuing to support our emergency response efforts in Puerto Rico.
The view inside the medical shelter.
Medical shelters provide necessary extra capacity.