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St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands – The Schneider Regional Medical Center extended a helping hand by agreeing to accept 12 critically ill, elderly patients who tested positive for COVID-19 and requiring advanced levels of care.

The offer for help came during an emergency meeting held over the weekend with officials from the VI Dept of Health, Department of Human Services, hospital staff, and officials from Government House. “We became aware of the situation at the QLHA and saw it as our duty to bring those patients to our facility where we are more equipped and have the experience to care for them,” said Dr. Luis Amaro, Interim Chief Executive Officer of Schneider Regional Medical Center.

The growing coronavirus cases threatens the hospital’s capacity and resources. There are also serious concerns for the safety of patients and staff. However, according to Dr. Amaro, “as a physician and a healthcare professional, I am very protective of most the vulnerable in our community, the children, the disabled, and the elderly. I feel that it is our responsibility to help.”

SRMC has been preparing for a surge of COVID-19 patients for several months by conducting training, ramping up supplies, and expanding available beds and treatment capabilities. I am grateful and incredibly proud of our team of skillful and compassionate staff here at SRMC who are prepared to care for those patients,” said Dr. Amaro.

Dr. Cecilia Penn, SRMC’s Chief Medical Officer, stated, “Older people are at higher risk for COVID-19, so are people with chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, and respiratory illness. Both groups are heavily represented among our nursing home populations in the territory. The immediate focus for us will be to successfully treat these patients while keeping the hospital environment free of the coronavirus so that we can also continue caring for other patients whose conditions are unrelated to the pandemic.”

“The recent spike in community spread is a reminder that we are not yet out of the woods. Protect yourselves and others from the spread of the virus by following the CDC and VI DOH. Wear your mask, wash your hands often, and practice safe social distancing”, said Dr. Amaro. Fighting this virus takes all of us working together.