A new isolation unit is under construction at the former Peebles Hospital, and lab services are expanding as the territory plans to reopen its borders to tourists in five days.
Work on the second floor of the facility has begun by local companies Metro Construction Limited and Caribbean Environmental Restoration Company, the BVI Health Services Authority announced on Monday afternoon in a Facebook broadcast.
The companies were awarded $947,267.48 and $682,387.99 contracts, respectively, according to Health and Social Development Minister Carvin Malone, who said that eight companies submitted bids for each project.
Cedorone Malone-Smith, acting CEO of the BVIHSA, said that until the pandemic is over, “We know there will always be new things coming up. So we will be prepared moving forward and we will have an isolation unit up.”
The CERC will build the lab expansion, which will meet the requirements for ISO 15189 certification, she said.
According to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) — which is an independent, non-governmental international organisation with a membership of 165 national standards bodies — the standard specifies requirements for quality and competence in medical laboratories. Ms. Malone-Smith also said that the ISO 15189-certified lab will be the only one in the region.
“We continue to press to be the leader and the best in the Caribbean in the services we provide,” she said.
Metro Construction Ltd. will build the new isolation unit, Ms. Malone-Smith added.
Mr. Malone praised the BVIHSA for its professionalism during the pandemic, adding that the agency has “lived up to its expectations.”
He also said that the response to the pandemic has been swift and effective, and listed “milestones” the BVIHSA has hit this year, including a “tele-health” initiative that has limited contact between people.
A part of that initiative is the Covid-19 medical hotline that can be used to report symptoms and receive instruction and medical attention if needed, rather than entering the hospital for care, he said.
Other accomplishments include the building of a Covid-19 tent at the hospital, the construction of a 16-bed isolation unit, training and certifying nurses and doctors, and the construction of a testing lab, according to the minister.
New clinic for Road Town
He also mentioned that the construction of a new Road Town community clinic is currently under way, but did not provide further details.