THE Minister for Health confirmed today the extent of the outbreak at the children’s clinic at Europort.

Despite figures dropping considerably this week, Health Minister Paul Balban is still expecting a surge in cases at any time.

“There are six confirmed cases and one suspected case among GHA staff,” said Balban.

“Five of them were sent home and one was admitted to the COVID ward at St Bernard’s hospital.

“All of them had been working at the children’s health centre and were doing so in the 40 hours prior to the onset of symptoms.

“This suggests there is likely to have been sustained transmission over a period of several weeks, during which clinics have been ongoing.

“In order to control the outbreak, those in direct contact with those affected have been asked to self isolate.”

A total of 18 health workers were swabbed that will be tested in-house, with one of them already resulting to be negative.

The Health Minister told anyone who used the centre told to call 111 if parents or their children showed symptoms.

“The case at the children’s health centre is proof that although we have done very well so far, COVID-19 is still circulating in Gibraltar,” warned Balban.

“It can cause us a great deal of harm if we do not keep these efforts up.”

After an extensive deep clean, the Children’s Health Centre was open to see patients at 9am this morning.

688 1 2019
CLEANED: The children health centre is now ready for use once again

Coming surge

Active cases in Gibraltar currently stand at 27, with 100 new results only showing one new case among them.

There were 31 people who showed up at the A&E counter in the last 24 hours, 11 with COVID-19 symptoms, ten which were swabbed.

Five people were checked in at the COVID John Ward although there are still nearly 400 beds available at both St Bernard’s Hospital and the Nightingale Facility.

The Health Minister said that despite the low confirmed cases, a big jump of the amount of infections could still arrive.

“There will be a surge, but whether this surge will be one big one like in other countries, or a series of smaller surges is something we need to see what happens,” said Balban.

“We need to look further afield at experiences of other countries, and small states to see what their experiences are.

“But one thing is for sure – we need to be at the right place and be able to tackle that if when it comes.”

New profiling beds have also arrived that will increase the beds by almost 50 at the main hospital and 30 at the Nightingale Facility.

The oxygen tank at Nightingale Facility can now be piped to 22 patients, being doubled by the end of April.

At Mount Alvernia, four new isolation beds were set up, with random tests of elderly residents there and at Hillside all coming out negative.

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MEMORIES: Minister Balban at Mount Alvernia before the COVID-19 pandemic last Christmas

Preparation

A second CT scanner has now been located at the Tercentenary Hall complex at Victoria Stadium as a backup to the main one at the hospital.

The drive-thru testing site at Rooke has already performed more than 800 swabs, the 111 service has made 4,500 calls and 1,400 online COVID-19 checks have been received.

There are now £1.5million in donations to the GHA, with all the money going to fight COVID-19 on the Rock.

The in-house testing centre has examined 180 swabs, although some shortages have meant samples are still sent to Spain.

On the BEAT COVID measures, Minister Albert Isola revealed that security, cleaning and freight businesses, estate agents, bureau de changes and wholesalers without a tobacco license can all apply for wage payment.

Over 1,200 companies have so far applied for the £1,155 wages for a total of 5700 employees, with nearly 800 emails received about the BEAT rules.

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