The media was taken on a tour of the facilities on Friday, the 7th of August.
The media tour of the COVID-19 Hospital started at the Sir Ignatius Kilage volleyball complex, led by CEO of the Morobe Provincial Health Authority, Dr Kipas Binga, and chairman Dr Lincoln Menda. They were accompanied by acting Director for Public Health, Micah Yawing, and the Provincial Health Coordinator, Matt Moylan.
The first stop was a partitioned area where people with influenza-like illnesses are interviewed, including those wishing to get a COVID-19 clearance certificate.
From the interview room, those to be tested will step over to a separate glass partition, where Dr Menda explained the precautionary measures implemented there.
“You can see in through this hole, the client comes closer and they get the swab from within,” he outlined. “And safety is there. Glas i protektim, ol i ken brit, but chances em (COVID-19) i ken go insait lo houl em daun liklik.”
However, those who the authorities believe have the virus would be subjected to GeneXpert testing and if confirmed positive, would be directed straight to the hospital.
On their way to the hospital, the media was shown nine Tuffa water tanks that have the ability to supply the hospital for two straight days if the Lae supply is cut off, while the swimming pool will be used as a reservoir. In terms of electricity, three standby generators, fully-fueled and connected, will supply the hospital during blackouts; two of them have been set aside for the Intensive Care Unit.
The hospital within the indoor stadium is divided into two units; the Intensive Care Unit has been separated from the main floor, where those with mild symptoms will be. Dr Binga said they will start off with 25 beds while a delivery bed will be put in place for pregnant women who might get admitted there.
Shower rooms are also located within the building for medical workers to doff their personal protective equipment, then proceed to the proposed decontamination chamber outside. The chamber is expected to cost between K200,000 and K300,000 to set up, and is should be ready by end of this week.
Dr Binga told media that a mortuary will be built away from the main building, though he hopes that they will never have to use it.
He thanked the Australian government for the new beds, including other stakeholders who have been supporting the PHA’s response to COVID-19. He further made a call to the Health Department to meet their obligations on time to ensure the hospital’s smooth operation.