As exclusively revealed by Island Echo, 40 troops from the Scots Guards arrived in Cowes on 4th April and set up a temporary barracks at UKSA. The next day they began work on stripping out and transforming 3 buildings at St Mary’s – the Laidlaw Day Hospital, the Education Centre and the Outpatients Appointments & Records Unit – to accommodate up to an additional 200 beds.
The Army have been assisted by local tradesmen from firms such as W.H Brading & Sons.
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have remained fairly low on the Isle of Wight with a total of just 68 since the first case was announced on 7th February. Of those cases, 14 have sadly died but 15 have recovered, meaning there are less than 40 active cases locally. As a result, it is not thought that any of the additional bed capacity has been used to date – and hopefully never will.
It was confirmed yesterday that troops have been removing and refurbishing former prisoner beds from Camp Hill prison for use in the temporary wards across the road. The Education Centre ward is known as Field Hospital Oliveria, named after the on-site library.
Elsewhere on the hospital site, a temporary marquee structure – similar to an event medical centre – has been erected for use as an extension to the Accident and Emergency department. This extra clinical area is being used to treat patients with respiratory problems.
Meanwhile, the Isle of Wight Council have installed 4 refrigerated containers at the rear of the Isle of Wight Crematorium in Whippingham to act as a temporary mortuary, should the need arise.
On Friday, the Royal Air Force conducted a joint exercise with the Isle of Wight NHS Trust landing a CH47 Chinook helicopter at Seaclose Park. The exercise was used to test out the options available should a coronavirus patient need transferring from the Island to Southampton or further afield to NHS Nightingale Hospital in London.
As a treat for their efforts over the past 17 days, the Scots Guards were treated to a Dominos takeaway last night (Sunday). They now move onto their next deployment elsewhere in the country.