Posted: Wednesday, August 25, 2021. 5:54 am CST.
By Benjamin Flowers: Over 15,000 Belizeans have contracted COVID-19, and unfortunately, more than 350 of them have lost the fight against the virus. Medical grade oxygen is a key component that keeps those battling the deadly illness in the fight, and this week, Fabrigas Belize Limited, the supplier of oxygen to all hospitals countrywide, gave a tour to the media to reassure the public that there is enough oxygen to go around.
On Tuesday, the company led the media on a tour of its facility located on the George Price Highway, to showcase not only the quantity of oxygen but the rigorous safety protocols in place and high-end equipment used to ensure that hospitals countrywide are able to deliver life-saving oxygen to their patients.
Plant Manager Justin Sabido, stressed that safety is so important at the facility that the media had to be furnished with had harts and safety goggles just to go on the tour. Sabido then elaborated on all the safety features built into the cylinders that contain the various industrial gasses the company offers. speaking on the Oxygen, Sabido stressed that, before the pandemic hit Belize, hospitals outside of Belize City had relatively low oxygen consumption, and their needs were being met through bedside cylinders; however, once COVID cases began to spike, there was a need for a more efficient system of delivery.
“So we installed the liquid cylinders, these microbulk cryogenic vessels, we ran piping into the COVID wards for them and we use our liquid oxygen delivery truck to deliver liquid oxygen. In the northern regional hospital, in Corozal Hospital, in the Western Regional Hospital and San Ignacio Hospital, we have these systems installed,” Sabido said.
With respect to the quantity of Oxygen available, Sabido stressed that the company had the foresight to prepare for the increase in demand.
“It has never been overwhelming for us because we are prepared. We had that six-thousand-gallon tank in late November which we were feeding the entire country with. In late November we acquired an eleven-thousand-gallon tank which tripled our storage capacity. Pre-COVID, six thousand gallons was good for the entire country – it was good for all the medical patients and industrial applications,” Sabido said.
Quality Manager Leo Smith also noted that Fabrigas went a step further in the delivery of oxygen by setting systems in place to ensure that hospitals do not run out of oxygen, especially at times when they need it most.
“We have over three hundred percent supply of the country’s needs and we also ensure that we monitor every hospital supply. We have a sophisticated telemetry network and at any given time, we know exactly where inventory stands for all hospitals when it comes to liquid oxygen. And we stand ready with assets to deploy at any given time for the country’s need in regards to COVID,” Smith added.
Smith also noted that, apart from medical grade oxygen, the company sells a variety of other industrial gasses such as helium, argon, and acetylene, which used for welding.
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