Jamaica: “Protect High-Risk Groups” –  CMO

Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr. Jacquiline BisasorMcKenzie, is again imploring Jamaicans to protect the nation’s high-risk population by taking all precautions to prevent them from contracting the coronavirus (COVID-19).

These include the elderly and persons with co-morbid conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension, who are more likely to develop more severe illness from COVID-19.

“[It is] very important that you take all the precautions… Elderly persons [for instance] are more likely to have a severe illness and have a poor outcome,” she said while addressing a digital press conference on Thursday (Sept. 24).

Turning to the recovery rate among COVID-19 positive cases, the CMO noted that in terms of persons who have been monitored in the hospital, 23 per cent have recovered to date.

“We still have in hospital, 36 per cent of persons or 67 persons that we are monitoring,who are moderately to critically ill,” she said.

Dr. Bisasor-McKenzie pointed out that the majority of COVID-19 cases show no or mild symptoms and many of these can be managed at home. Most persons can recover with rest, fluids and medication for fever and mild respiratory symptoms.

 “[Of the] 5,558 confirmed cases [to date], 96.6 per cent have been cases with no or mild symptoms. So only 3.3 per cent of cases have actually been moderate to severe illnesses and would’ve been monitored in hospital,” she noted.

The CMO said further that of the cases that have been monitored in hospital, only 0.35 per cent of those would have required ventilatory support.

Jamaicans can protect themselves as well as the vulnerable by adhering to the established infection prevention and control measures.

These include wearing a mask while in public, maintaining a distance of at least six feet from other persons, frequently washing or sanitising hands, and not gathering in groups of more than 15 persons.