Doha, 19 May, 2020: Dr. Saad Al Kaabi, SWICC Chairman at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) says in the coming two weeks additional hospital beds will be made available, bringing the total number of new beds opened as part of Qatar’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic to nearly 3,500. He says while there is no shortage of beds for patients who require hospitalization, the public must continue to act proactively to prevent contracting and spreading the virus.
“There is no shortage of beds to treat COVID-19 patients, whether in critical care units or on regular wards. Seven facilities — the Communicable Disease Centre, Hazm Mebaireek General Hospital, The Cuban Hospital, Mesaieed Hospital, Ras Laffan Hospital, as well as Libsear Military Field Hospital located near Al Sheehaniya, and a field hospital in the Industrial Area — have been designated to care for COVID-19 patients,” said Dr. Al Kaabi.
“We have been able to significantly expand acute and critical care capacity. We have built capacity in our existing hospitals and opened new hospitals. We are prepared to respond to any outbreak scenario, which includes having plans in place for the worst-case scenario. While these are positive steps forward, it remains as important as ever that everyone continues to help contain the spread of this virus by staying home and following infection control measures. This is particularly important right now, as we move through the peak phase of infection, and as many people might feel the temptation to relax their observance of social distancing guidelines to gather to celebrate Eid Al Fitr,” added Dr. Al Kaabi.
“We have developed and implemented a strategy that is allowing us to ensure the right care is available at the right time and place. By assigning seven hospitals as dedicated COVID-19 treatment facilities we can keep the majority of COVID-19 patients in a small number of locations which ensures there is dedicated, specially trained staff, along with the necessary equipment, available to these patients. Having dedicated COVID-19 treatment facilities also help us ensure patients who require non-COVID-19 care can access treatment more safely,” added Dr. Al Kaabi.
Dr. Khalid Al Jalham, Clinical Leader of HMC’s Ras Laffan Hospital, confirmed that hospital, which was officially opened late last month, is constructed over an area of 200,000 square meters and comprises an underground level, a ground level, and two upper levels. He said that the hospital is a key component of HMC’s COVID-19 response strategy.
Dr. Ahmed Al Mohammed, Acting Chairman of HMC’s Intensive Care Units (ICU) noted there is also sufficient facilities and staff to care for COVID-19 patients who require intensive treatment and advanced respiratory support. HMC’s COVID-19 hospitals have a combined ICU capacity of nearly 400 beds, which can be increased to 700 beds. There are currently 1,452 people in acute care and 163 in ICU.
Dr. Al Kaabi stressed the importance of the community continuing to work together to help prevent further spread of the virus.
“COVID-19 can be fatal, particularly for those with existing health conditions such as respiratory illnesses, heart disease, and high blood pressure. One need only to look at the number of patients being admitted into the hospital, and into the ICU, as evidence of how serious illness from this virus can be. We must all be very considerate of our actions; the choices we make can mean the difference between life and death for vulnerable members of our community,” said Dr. Al Kaabi.