It was the biggest single-day increase since an ill-prepared Haiti first confirmed that the novel coronavirus had arrived at its shores. After days of single digits and spikes still in the teens, the number of confirmed infections in just one day had peaked to 39.
Reading the latest update from the ministry of health on Thursday, Marc Jumlisse, a nurse at the University Hospital of Mirebalais, the first medical facility to open its doors to infected patients, had only one reaction.
“I said ‘Let’s pray.’ ”
Jumlisse, who worked 12 years as a licensed practical nurse and registered nurse in the United States before moving back to Haiti in 2010, and the medical staff at Mirebalais have been dreading a tide in the deadly infections that they know is coming, and that the Pan American Health Organization warns could overwhelm an already weak health system.
In just one week, the number of confirmed infections of COVID-19, the disease caused by the flu-like virus, had more than doubled in Haiti. They increased from 123 laboratory-confirmed cases on March 8 to 310 as of Friday. By Saturday, the number had jumped by an additional 48 cases and by Sunday, the number of confirmed infections stood at 456. Of that total, 20 people have died — four of them at Mirebalais.
While the spike in positive cases has yet to translate into a deluge of sick people at Mirebalais’s wrought iron gates, things are starting to get critical. Continue reading…