Thursday 2 April, 2020

COVID-19 cases up to 26 in J'ca; 70yo Clarendon man the latest patient

A 70-year-old man from Clarendon is the latest person to be diagnosed with the coronavirus, COVID-19, in Jamaica.

The patient hails from the Corn Piece settlement community in Clarendon which is under quarantine. That is the same community where the man who was Jamaica's first COVID-19 fatality resided.

The latest diagnosis pushes Jamaica’s tally of confirmed cases to 26, up by one since Tuesday.

The announcement was made Wednesday by the Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton during a digital press conference to update the nation on the pandemic.

A total of 150 persons have been tested so far for the fast-spreading virus in Jamaica. Eighteen results are pending.

Seventeen of Jamaica’s positive cases are males and nine are females.

Meanwhile, Tufton said the two-week quarantine that was imposed on the Seven and Eight Miles communities in Bull Bay will be lifted on Saturday, March 20. Chief Medical Officer, Jacquiline Bisasor McKenzie said that some persons in the communities, who were in contact with patient one, will be tested again and, if necessary, special arrangements will be made to deal with them.

Tufton said the Government is still in need of 600 rooms to quarantine persons who will be recovering from COVID-19 outside of the hospital setting. He said these rooms will be needed once community spread of the virus begins in Jamaica.

“We’ve started that search and we’ve had a number of offers but the suitability, however, of those facilities in a number of cases, are a challenge. Either they’re too small or, in some instances, the costs are prohibitive or high, based on private providers’ requirement …so the search continues," he said.

Tufton said, in a number of cases, the facilities are appropriate and discussions are taking place.

“This type of accommodation is absolutely critical to the plan to dealing with the community spread that is likely to come in the not too distance future," the health minister explained.

He added that, in the public interest, the possibility of using the Emergency Powers law to force the owners of private property to make them available for the required purpose, would be considered.

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