In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are few revelations that will likely panic someone more than finding out that a loved one has the virus.
One Trinidadian woman received that confirmation not once, or twice but three times.
Her mother, aunt and uncle, who are between the ages 65-70-years old, all have the virus and are currently warded at the Couva Hospital.
Prior to that, they were quarantined at Camp Balandra with the group of 68 nationals who returned from a Caribbean cruise aboard the Costa Favolosa. The ship was denied entry to Martinique after passengers tested positive and the nationals were immediately quarantined at Balandra after returning home last week. A group of 40 of them subsequently tested positive and were taken to Couva. Another of the passengers who were at Balandra and three others who were also on the ship but came in independently of the group of 68 subsequently tested positive, taking the total number of those who tested positive from the contamination on the ship to 44.
The woman, who would only allow Guardian Media to use her first name, Tricia, claims since her relatives have been back home, no substantial information has been given to her about the condition of her hospitalised relatives.
“Our family is distraught. You cannot tell me that they have elderly people in the hospital and the next of kin isn’t being given any information,” she said.
With the uncertainty, she said her mental state is now tormented.
“There is zero communication. Every single day I can’t sleep. I cannot rest. I have to take sleeping pills right now,” Tricia added.
The only updates, or the closest thing to it, she said, comes from her aunt via nurses, not doctors.
“We just want them to communicate. Yes, we know we cannot see them because they are in quarantine, but we just want to know how they are doing,” she pleaded.
Here’s what she claims to know:
Her mother was transferred to the Couva Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit on Monday. She was removed from ICU on Wednesday.
On Sunday, her uncle was transferred to the ICU.
Since then, Tricia says she’s heard nothing and means she’s unaware of their conditions. She claims even her aunt is unable to get updates from doctors about the condition of her other two relatives although they are all at the facility.
“When I called the hospital, they are saying the doctors are too busy. I’ve tried calling the hotline number whole day, but I can’t get through,” Tricia lamented.
With each call, her frustration is building more and more and that’s why she said she was willing to talk to Guardian Media yesterday. However, she admitted she was reluctant to reveal her full identity because she feared her relatives may be victimised.
“I just don’t know what to do again,” she said.
Tricia’s cousin, whose both parents are at the Couva Hospital, said she also feels helpless. However, while she wasn’t complaining about how they are being treated, she called the lack of medical updates bewildering. Not willing to share her full name, she said she’s called just about everyone there is to get information.
“I think I have the record for most calls made. I think the only person I haven’t called is the Prime Minister,” she said.
“My biggest complaint is that I don’t know what’s going on with my parents. We haven’t gotten any information from the Ministry of Health as yet.”
Her father, who is in the ICU, is 70 and has a history of other medical conditions.
According to medical experts, the elderly are the most vulnerable to the virus. As of Wednesday, more than 20,000 people have been killed, while more than 450,000 have been infected by COVID-19.