ST. CROIX — Luis Hospital, which once hoped to open Thursday for hemodialysis patients, instead will be evacuated.
“The roof at the Juan Luis Hospital is breached,” Gov. Kenneth Mapp said during a press conference Thursday night at Government House in Christiansted. “There’s water everywhere. The roof has been pretty much destroyed.”
That contrasts with the message from hospital officials on Wednesday, who said they had moved patients from the third floor to the second floor, but expected to be open for hemodialysis patients Thursday morning.
Instead, about 65 patients at the hospital would be relocated to South Carolina, Mapp said.
“We have to empty the hospital,” Mapp said.
During her report at Thursday’s press conference, V.I. Health Commissioner Michelle Davis said patient evacuations would be total.
“Unfortunately, Juan F. Luis, as you heard from the governor, has experienced severe damage,” she said. “Juan F. Luis will be evacuated. This includes all inpatients as well as all kidney dialysis patients. We’re working with the military and others for this relocation.”
Officials were seeking a mobile hospital setup for Luis similar to the one that was erected on the grounds of Schneider Hospital on St. Thomas before it was dismantled ahead of Hurricane Maria’s arrival, according to Mapp.
“We will work to get the mobile hospital set up on the grounds there, so we can handle any particular trauma or emergency that we have,” he said.
Apart from the hospital, Maria did not cause any serious injuries to residents of St. Croix, according to Davis.
The Charles Harwood medical complex, which had served as a special needs shelter, was severely flooded, Davis said. The other shelters — the Canegata Sports Complex, St. Croix Educational Complex and the Herbert Grigg nursing home — were not compromised, she said.
Patients at the Schulterbrandt mental health facility were being taken care of, Davis said.
“We are continually assessing the care of our residents, and hope to begin repairs soon on our behavioral health long-term care annex so that they can move back into that facility,” she said.
Officials were also looking at potentially closing special needs shelters on St. Thomas, Davis said.
“These shelters are temporary shelters and not for long-term care,” she said. “St. Thomas has had patients since before Hurricane Irma, thus we are assessing when these shelters will close.”