Government, Press Release
Yesterday afternoon, Thursday 27 January, AIG was contacted by a passing vessel to request emergency disembarkation of an injured crew member in accordance with SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea). The injury is not COVID-19 related. The crew member was brought ashore earlier today and admitted to Georgetown Hospital. All of those involved in assisting the crew member followed AIGs strict and well-tested COVID-19 standard operating procedures, wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and observing distancing were necessary.
Upon arrival at Georgetown Hospital the crew member was placed into an isolation ward and tested for COVID-19, the result of which was negative. However, given their recent travel history they will be required to observe compulsory isolation and as such will remain on a quarantine ward at the hospital under the care of AIG’s medical team. The isolation ward is separated from the rest of the hospital and access to it is strictly controlled. Staff will continue to observe COVID-19 protocols and the individual will be tested regularly for COVID-19.
Members of the public should be assured that Georgetown Hospital has robust infection control protocols in place to ensure that the risk of transmission of COVID-19 from a patient to a member of staff is minimised. These were tested when a COVID19 positive patient was admitted to the hospital from a passing ship in August last year. As a result of the protocols in place, no onward transmission to hospital staff, other patients or the community occurred.
If the crew member’s condition sufficiently improves then they will be moved to a regular facility where they will observe individual isolation in line with usual quarantine procedures. Until that point they will remain in the isolation ward at Georgetown Hospital, with all relevant risk management procedures being observed.
Given the above, there is no concern that COVID-19 may have been introduced into the wider community. As such, the COVID-19 Response Level remains at Level 1 AMBER.
Further updates on this matter will be provided in due course.
Does this person pose a risk to the community?
The individual has been admitted to Georgetown Hospital as they are currently in need of medical attention. They are however stable and are now receiving the medical care necessary.
Whilst this individual has returned a negative COVID-19 test result, Georgetown Hospital has strict infection control protocols and procedures in place to effectively manage any potential COVID-19 admissions to the hospital. The person in question is in an isolation ward and is receiving care from a limited number of medical staff, that are doing so in all necessary PPE. The individual will be regularly tested for COVID-19 until they have completed a standard period of quarantine like any other arrival to the island from an area affected by COVID-19.
Why was this person disembarked from the ship?
The ship got in touch with Ascension to report an injured crewman on board. Given the lack of available medical care, the ship’s crew requested the individual be disembarked at the island. As has long been the case, with the only hospital and runway for many hundreds of thousands of square miles, Ascension provides an opportunity for sick seamen and seawomen to receive potentially lifesaving medical treatment.
Georgetown Hospital has previously handled a person with COVID-19 being admitted from a passing ship, and as such robust infection control protocols are in place.
What will happen to the patient now?
The crew member will remain in the isolation ward under monitor, and will be provided with medical assistance as necessary. If their condition improves sufficiently they will be discharged from hospital into a normal quarantine facility until they complete an appropriate period of compulsory isolation. If their situation deteriorates then hospital staff will make a clinical judgement as to the best course of action for their treatment.