Wednesday 25 November, 2020

43 COVID cases at Golden Age home in Vineyard Town

iStock photo

iStock photo

A cluster of COVID-19 cases numbering 43 has been discovered at the Golden Age Home in Vineyard Town, St Andrew, according to the Ministry of Health and Wellness.

In a statement last evening, the ministry said it is working in collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to expedite testing for COVID-19 as it races to contain the outbreak at the senior residents’ home. Older people, especially those with comorbidities who live in long-term care facilities are more susceptible to COVID-19 and are more likely to have a bad outcome if they contract the disease.

“The cluster was uncovered as part of the health ministry’s ongoing islandwide surveillance of senior citizens’ homes and infirmaries,” the statement said without stating when the cases were first discovered.

It said 43 of 72 samples taken from residents and staff at the facility have so far returned positive results.

“The testing of all 428 residents and 162 staff members is expected to be completed in the next two to three days,” the ministry added.

In the meantime, emergency management protocols have been triggered at the facility, with those having tested positive being put in isolation while others are put into quarantine pending the outcome of their results.

Further, all residents and staff are to be monitored closely even as the section of the facility from where the initial positive tests have come is managed with enhanced infection prevention and control procedures.

“The Ministry of Health and Wellness will also be providing support to review and strengthen the infection prevention and control measures at the home and to review the protocols to increase the surveillance and monitoring of all such facilities to reduce transmission among the vulnerable population,” said the Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton

Both ministries have also identified a team of caregivers to provide the necessary care for the residents at the home.

Shortly after Jamaica recorded its first case of COVID-19 in March, Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie announced that routine visits to golden age homes and infirmaries would be restricted to minimise the risk of residents contracting the disease. It has taken seven months for the first publicly known cases among residents at such a facility in Jamaica to be known unlike in places like Italy, Spain, France and the United States where tens of thousands of residents perished in assisted living facilities during the first wave of the coronavirus in March and April.

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