As public hospitals across the island strengthen their readiness protocol to respond to COVID-19 patients, the St. Ann’s Bay Regional Hospital has been outfitted by Sandals Foundation with a sterile and private area to serve as a lounge for the doctors and nurses who will be on call in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
The facility, which is valued at approximately JMD$386,000 was prepared by the Sandals Foundation as part of a wider COVID-19 relief sponsorship by the United States-based company, Tito’s Handmade Vodka. The vodka company’s philanthropic arm, Love, Tito’s, has donated a total of US$25,000 to support the island’s hospitality workers in the tourism dependent communities affected by the pandemic.
The St. Ann’s Bay Regional Hospital is the main COVID-19 treatment facility for persons in the parishes of St. Ann, Portland and St. Mary. The lounge consists of a sleeping quarter outfitted with a twin bed, a general space with three wipeable recliners and television and a dining space with a microwave, electronic kettle, a refrigerator and a four-seater dining room table.
Speaking at the handover event on Friday, May 8, 2020, Dennis Morgan, Chief Executive Officer at the North East Regional Health Authority noted that the donation is “important in encouraging our frontline workers who are sacrificing their lives every day to take care of persons affected by the virus.”
Heidi Clarke, Executive Director at the Sandals Foundation expressed solidarity with all staff who are at the forefront of fighting this disease.
“We are so grateful for the work that all frontline staff does to save lives and bring a sense of reassurance to the families that are impacted. We hope this lounge will help hospital workers find a sense of comfort in this space designed to help them rest, re-center and recharge,” she said.
The Sandals Foundation has been actively responding to a number of social-economic needs since the pandemic reached the island’s shores.
“We continue to look out for areas to support the people of Jamaica and other Caribbean islands and will work alongside government, non-governmental organizations and corporate partners to provide for the needs of the elderly and most vulnerable. We know that the closure of the tourism industry has made life difficult for a lot of families and so will especially seek to aid communities that rely on tourism to survive,” Clarke said.