Almost half of the recovering COVID-19 patients housed at the step-down facility at Brooklyn Settlement, Sangre Grande, are challenging Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh’s claims that he spoke to the majority of them via telephone on Easter Monday and that they refused to be transferred because they were happy with the remedial work done there, after their complaints about the unsanitary conditions were highlighted in the media.
The group of close to 13 patients told Guardian Media last evening that up to the time of Monday’s daily media briefing at 2 pm, Deyalsingh was also aware that four patients had already been sent back to the Couva Hospital after they began displaying viral symptoms.
One person said, “Between Saturday night when we got here and yesterday, they (other patients) began coughing and had fever so those four were taken back.”
During the briefing, Deyalsingh claimed only one patient had returned to Couva and that 30 people remained at the former Aging At Home facility at Bridge Road. He added too that he had spoken to some 26 of them on his way to the briefing and they had agreed to stay at the facility after remedial work was done by the Eastern Regional Health Authority. The minister also said he had agreed to let the patients tell their side of the story to the media, as many of them expressed a desire to do so.
But speaking soon after Deyalsingh, the traumatised Sangre Grande patients, who requested anonymity for fear of victimisation, claimed his about them wanting to remain at the facility was untrue.
One said, “A number of us were watching it (press briefing) and were quite enraged frankly, about the blatant lies.
“I was never contacted by anyone, nobody knew who came to contact who, nobody saw anyone coming to contact anyone, so at least amongst half of us, none of us knew what he (Deyalsingh) was talking about.”
In fact, the patients said the general consensus among them was quite different to what Deyalsingh suggested.