BVI News

Working on the frontline | A BVI doctor’s account of dealing with COVID-19

By Esther Durand, BVI News Staff

Whenever Dr Chrisel Bovell-Chichester arrives home from work, her husband regularly asks, “did you wash your hands?”

Of course, the answer is always ‘yes’. But he doesn’t double-check simply because of the ‘new normal’ associated with the COVID-19 pandemic but because his wife is no ordinary doctor.

Dr Bovell-Chichester is a consultant internist at the Dr D Orlando Smith Hospital and works on the Isolation Ward, which is considered the frontline of the territory’s continued fight against COVID-19.

“Those that I see are among the sickest, the most critical, the ones that have the highest mortality rate … When you get to the stage that you have to see me, [it means your condition might be so advanced] that the chances of you walking out of the hospital is very slimmer than other patients,” she explained in an exclusive interview with BVI News recently.


Working with such a highly-contagious disease reasonably leaves a bitter taste of concern among frontline workers like Dr Bovell-Chichester.

However, the intense COVID-19 training that was provided by the BVI Health Services Authority has assisted Dr Bovell-Chichester and other medical practitioners to be more at ease while dealing with these types of patients.

“There was some fear. I think we all got to a point where we got a little more at ease, but I wouldn’t say comfortable,” she admitted.

“I think we have to recognize not just the healthcare providers [become fearful], but their families as well,” added the physician while explaining why her husband often asks whether she has sanitized.

“I know he is being endearing about it but he must have had concerns. We are human at the end of the day and self-preservation is always going to be at the forefront of our minds whether we will admit it or not.” 


As it relates to the coronavirus, Dr Bovell-Chichester has provided hospitalised care to 10 persons who were either confirmed OR suspected of having COVID-19. This includes the one patient who died from the virus.

She told our news centre that it has not been easy and admits that she sometimes feel “helpless”.

She explained that medical practitioners like herself are left to act in multiple roles while treating COVID-19 cases. This is because of the high risks associated with the virus and because of their duty to limit exposing others to these patients.

“Whereas in the case of a patient with a significant heart attack who is having psychological issues managing the whole burden that it brings for them, we can involve the psychiatrists, counsellors, dieticians — all of those persons to try to approach this holistically. In COVID-19 patients, you the physician becomes all of those entities, and it can become overwhelming,” the physician said.

Having that firsthand experience treating COVID-19, Dr Bovell-Chichester is, therefore, reiterating calls for residents to take every possible precaution and follow the guidelines set out by health authorities.

The territory has a total of eight confirmed cases of the coronavirus. Of that number, there is currently only one active case remaining to date.

Editor’s note: This article represents part one of a three-part series where Dr Chrisel Bovell-Chichester gives readers insight into COVID-19 in the BVI.

Copyright 2021 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.


Disclaimer: BVI News and its affiliated companies are not responsible for the content of comments posted or for anything arising out of use of the comments below or other interaction among the users.

  1. Well sah says:

    Really? That’s what he always ask her when she gets home….not if she had a good day, but if she washed her hands….

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    • @Well says:

      What he really asks is “what’s for dinner”. Don’t care about washing hands or how the day was

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    • You know? says:

      Exactly, when I get home from work, my husband always ask me how was my day at work.

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    • Tola says:

      I am so embarrassed at how you people are tearing apart the good Doctor’s story. Instead of thanking her for her service you critique, criticize and chastise. Doc thanks for your hard earned and dedicated service to the BVI. May God bless you.

      Like 11
  2. Huh says:

    I thought there are no cases of Covid in “Nature’s Little Secret”. What is this front line nonsense. The Foy said everyone is well and nothing to worry about. He bought ventilators from Senegal just in case. He also got the $1 test kits from the as well. Everybody is good. Nobody is sick. What’s this article for?

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    • SMDH says:

      You are literally too stupid to insult…..smdh

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      • @SMDH says:

        He/she is on every post daily aspousing his racial hatred for “negroes” Black people in general. Look at another article and you will find him there. A real antiquated relic and fossil of centuries past.

      • And says:

        he/she spends the entire day and night regularly tapping on the like feature of the rubbish he/she posted rewarding him/her self with a psychological boost.

        Additionally, if there are that many white people living here that condone that mentality by thumbing up and approving that “negro” Black people, BVIslander hating filth, then we are in serious rouble ahead.

        • Racism goes both ways says:

          Whites discriminating blacks is wrong.
          Blacks discriminating whites is equally wrong.

          Stop pretending all people of a similar color are similar in what they do.

          Stop the prejudice.

          WE ARE ALL ONE!

  3. Really says:

    She has provided care to 10 hospitalized patients and yet we only have 8 confirmed cases.Please clarify

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    • @ Really says:

      Two were suspected cases so not confirmed as positive for the virus.

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      • Ausar says:

        Thank you, Dr.Chichester, for confirming what I knew all along; that there are more cases of COVID than is being reported!

        That you, Doc, are concerned about your health, as is your husband, suggests that we’re dealing with a crisis in this country!!!

        So much for the “continued” talk, about #Continued Lockdown# needed, to “save” lives in the BVI!!


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    • Local girl says:

      Too many damn professional liars in this Territory, seem like no one tell the truth anymore.
      These people make the Nigerian and Ghanaian scammers look like chiorboys.

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  4. Longshanks says:

    So 10 patients were hospitalised for COVID or suspected COVID? Were they critically ill, requiring ICU?

    That is a very different picture from the one person who was badly ill and sadly died.

    This article raises more questions than it answers.

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  5. To Longshanks says:

    The good Doc said:

    “Those that I see are among the sickest, the most critical, the ones that have the highest mortality rate … When you get to the stage that you have to see me … the chances of you walking out of the hospital is very slimmer than other patients.”

    And then:

    As it relates the coronavirus, Dr Bovell-Chichester has provided hospitalised care to 10 persons who were either confirmed OR suspected of having COVID-19.

    The two statements leave me with more questions than answers about the 10 that she saw.

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  6. Eyes says:

    You people need to read and understand what she said and the key word was suspected not confirmed besides does that were confirmed. So of we had eight confirm and two that were suspected isn’t that ten . Don’t try and twist the doctor words to suite your agenda trying make it look like government hiding something Tortola to small to keep secrets.

  7. My Doctor says:

    Dr. Bovell is such a wonderful and caring doctor. They couldn’t have picked anyone better to serve in this important role.

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  8. 2020 says:

    Didn’t anyone see the positives in her message? She and her family are taking risks to care for the BVI public. Do you not have empathy for what this doctor is doing and for her family for allowing her to do so? She is also requesting the public to play their part .. dang!!!

    You bloggers are so dam* consumed in your … and what’s currently going on, it is as if your heads are in your @$$€$.

    Her husband asked if she washed her hands from the perspective of protecting both herself and others in the household … do they have children or other relatives? THAT is how I read it. You bloggers are so negative commenting on here about what he should ask and what your husband says to you – BS. No doubt some of you only pretending to have good husbands.

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  9. GTFOH says:

    OMG, this article is exposing the illiterates and idiots. She is doctor. When she spoke about the sickest, most critical she is speaking about patients of all kinds with different illnesses that is her main job.

    Now with Covid she is one of the doctors that will deal with that but she isn’t just sitting waiting for only covid patients obviously so it is stupid to think that she was referring to the Covid cases. Providing care to 10 persons does not mean surgery or anything major it means that she provided medical assistance of any kind. For a doctor something as simple as putting a bandaid on a cut or an ice pack on a patient with a fever is providing care.

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  10. Eagle eye says:

    Why didn’t she speak on the symptoms of the mask.half the story will never be told.

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  11. Guy Hill says:

    Always continue to do your very best. Be safe.

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  12. the facts says:

    Nearly 18 million heart attacks, 9 million from starvation. But now with COVID-19 infecting I will say 7 million(forward thinking) the world comes to a standstill. Thats 0.1% of the world population and with a death rate of less than 0.01% of the population it has destablised the world economies, but we have become acustomed to 0.025% dying every year from heart attacks and 0.0125% of starvation. Deaths are hard and in the media spotlight 24/7 but not in the spotlight much higher death rates that are easier to control but “they” choose not to , I don’t have the answers, just questions.

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    • 007 says:

      Very flawed thought process. You are comparing something that has only been around for 5 months to problems that have existed for decades so of course the numbers will be greater than that of Covid19. Another very important factor that you are ignoring is that heart attacks and starvation isn’t highly contagious. You dont have to take any necessary precaution to protect yourself if someone next to you have a heart attack or dies of starvation so “the world doesn’t have to stop” in that case.

      With Covid19 you cannot continue to go about your business as usual. A simple touch, sneeze, or exhale from an infected person can infect others. In a mere 5 months there has been almost 5.5 million cases and over 340,000 deaths worldwide. Imagine if there wasn’t a worldwide shutdown of flights and mass social gatherings the numbers would have been way higher.

      It take years of bad diet etc. for people to get heart disease that lead to a heart attack. Covid19 kills in a few days to weeks of getting the virus if your immune has been compromised.

      In Brazil there has been 807 deaths and 11,867 new cases in the last 24hrs so the threat is real if you dont take precautionary measures.

    • Guest says:

      Your mother had to be drinking when she was pregnant with you. My God you stupid….

  13. Stupid ppl says:

    You ppl are sickening and undeserving of the sacrifices the Frontline staff of the Peebles Hospital has provided and continues to provide.

    THANK YOU to the Frontline workers of Peebles. I wouldn’t blame any of you for leaving this place tomorrow. As a matter of fact I wish all ya’ll would pack up and leave when the borders open just to see what we’ll say then. Ungrateful sacks of sh@$

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    • @strupedppl says:

      Well, that’s largely the point isn’t it.

      While there is no evidence of Covid in the BVI and the border is shut, presumably the risk of Covid from being a frontline worker is low.

      Huge appreciation for being a frontline worker, but it’s a few weeks too late to base this article on Covid.

      Now when the border reopens, that’s another story… but can we keep them shut forever? Essentially we are reliant on other countries sorting out the problem.

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