Health Sector’s Capacity To Handle COVID-19 Spike

On Thursday, the country recorded ninety-eight (98) new cases and a fifteenth (15th) COVID related death. The Ministry of Health and Wellness says 88 of the new cases were from current samples tested between August 10-17.

The Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jacquiline Bisasor-Mckenzie says many of those persons likely contracted the virus over the Emancipation and Independence holiday periods due to a number of gatherings.

Up to Thursday, August 20, there were 31 COVID-19 patients in hospitals across the island, 55 persons in facility isolation, and 336 in home isolation. But with increasing COVID-19 cases how will the health sector cope? 
Health Minister Dr. Christopher Tufton says as more persons test positive,  it becomes increasingly difficult to house these patients at hospitals and other institutions.

 He adds that elderly persons and those with co-morbidities are the one’s being given priority at hospitals and other facilities. At the same time, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health Dunstan Bryan says more rooms for quarantine are being procured. 

However, the President of the Medical Association of Jamaica Dr. Andrew Manning stresses that if the spike in  COVID-19 cases continues, the health sector’s resources will be stretched. 
Both the Jamaica Medical Doctors’ Association (JMDA) and the Association of Consultant Physicians of Jamaica (ACPJ)  join with Dr. Manning in expressing grave concerns about the increasing number of cases.

JMDA President Dr. Mindi Fitz-Henley says the health sector is stretched thin and the blatant lack of adherence to the COVID-19 protocols is only adding to this burden.

The doctors are calling on citizens to adhere to the protocols which include the wearing of masks, frequent hand washing; maintaining a social distance of six feet, staying home when sick and following quarantine orders.