Monday 25 May, 2020

COVID-19: Corn Piece quarantine may continue; Portland Cottage concern

In this Loop News file photo, Chief Medical Officer, Jacquiline Bisasor-McKenzie, addresses journalists at a press conference.

In this Loop News file photo, Chief Medical Officer, Jacquiline Bisasor-McKenzie, addresses journalists at a press conference.

The quarantine that was placed on the community of Corn Piece Settlement in Clarendon two weeks ago, and which was to be lifted Thursday, is likely to be extended.

That’s according to Chief Medical Officer, Jacquiline Bisasor-McKenzie, who was answering questions posed by journalists during a digital press conference from the New Kingston offices of the Ministry of Health and Wellness on Wednesday.

The development comes as it was announced that six new cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), which were confirmed on Wednesday, were linked to the 79-year-old man who resided in Corn Piece and who was the first person to die from the dreaded respiratory disease in Jamaica. Two others have since died and Jamaica now has 44 confirmed cases of the coronavirus. The six new cases were all close contacts of the elderly man.

A troubling development, as confirmed by the CMO on Wednesday, is that while the six new cases are linked to the now deceased individual,  two of the persons resided in nearby Portland Cottage, three in Longsville and one in Hayes, all in Clarendon. 

“We expect that by this evening (Wednesday) into tomorrow (Thursday) we may have to extend (the quarantine) at least for a period of another 48 hours to have that discussion once we do another surveillance of the community and then to make a decision if we think that it would be indicated, for an extension of the period,” Bisasor-McKenzie said.

“It is still a matter that we have to evaluate and then to make a decision because we’re only just now getting in the results and we do expect further results from that area today (Wednesday) as well...,” the CMO added.

For his part, Health and Wellness Minister, Dr Christopher Tufton, admitted that the community of Portland Cottage was presenting some concerns.

“There’s a little concern related to that area. We may have to take some decisions as it relates to that area, but not right now. A team is assessing that,” Tufton stated.

He said 279 residents have been interviewed and seven persons placed in isolation.

Meanwhile, a total of 69 households are being monitored in Portland Cottage, Longsville and Hayes.

Clarendon now has 10 cases of COVID-19, the second most of any parish behind Kingston and St Andrew with 12.

In the meantime, Bisasor-McKenzie said 27 persons are asymptomatic, eight have moderate symptoms and are on oxygen therapy or wheezing while six have mild symptoms.

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