“Situation at Dar San Ġużepp under control” – Geriatric doctor

In the Home for the Elderly San Ġużepp in Fgura there are currently 100 elderly persons suffering from Coronavirus with 15 more cases confirmed yesterday. The Clinical Chair for Geriatrics, Dr Brian Farrugia, told TVM that the situation is serious but under control. He pointed out that the majority of infected residents are over 80 but their condition is stable. Meanwhile in a daily updating of the situation the Health Authorities said that over the last 24 hours there have been 38 new cases while 34 persons have recovered.

Dr Farrugia said the situation in the Home became serious because it had started off with a few infections but these have continued to increase. At this stage among the 298 residents there are 100 who are infected. He explained that two of these are over 50 but the majority are over 80.

He said many of these are stable and well but unfortunately there are those whose condition deteriorates, particularly those that suffer from dementia, but all these are being cared for.

Asked whether carers, nurses and staff are also infected, Dr Farrugia said that as this is a private Home he does not know of the number of carers but currently the Home only has half of the number of normal carers. He said a number of the staff are under quarantine and there is a possibility that some of these may be infected.

He said that when in general the residents are asked they say they suffer no symptoms. Dr Farrugia said the problem is that after some days symptoms begin to develop and they feel various effects. He said the most notable is a lack of appetite and his team are also careful to detect a fever. Currently there are about five persons on drip and if oxygen levels drop an oxygen concentrator is used.

Dr Farrugia explained that as soon as an elderly person is Covid confirmed they are isolated to their own room and are taken to two floors where Covid patients are being lodged. He said that doctors, nurses and cleaners visiting these patients have to be wearing personal protective equipment. He said that every three days all residents and staff have to undergo swab tests.

We asked Dr Frarugia if a lockdown is being considered for the employees at Dar San Ġużepp and he responded that if needs be everything necessary will be done. However life in such a situation is no holiday and nor is it a retirement with floor matresses placed adjacent to each other. He said there are already those who cannot go home and have continued giving service to the residents.

He explained that relatives cannot visit the Home but can communicate via telephone. He appealed to relatives not to ring in the morning when staff are most busy. The best time is between 1 pm and 5 pm. Doctors only contact relatives if a patient is deteriorating.

From the new Covid cases that proved positive on Monday, 16 of these were from Dar San Ġużepp. The Health Authorities said that over the last 24 hours there have been 38 new cases resulting from 2,814 swab tests. Over the last hours 34 persons have recovered and now the number of positive cases stands at 678.