Thursday 9 April, 2020

Government identifies quarantine facility in western Jamaica

Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton (right), inspects one of the quarantine rooms at St. Joseph’s Hospital in St Andrew, with the Chief Executive Officer at the hospital, Leon Dixon; and Director of Health Services, Planning and Integration in the ministry, Dr. Naydene Williams, during a tour of the facility on Tuesday, February 18.

Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton (right), inspects one of the quarantine rooms at St. Joseph’s Hospital in St Andrew, with the Chief Executive Officer at the hospital, Leon Dixon; and Director of Health Services, Planning and Integration in the ministry, Dr. Naydene Williams, during a tour of the facility on Tuesday, February 18.

Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton, says the Government has identified a quarantine facility in western Jamaica, and is looking at other facilities elsewhere in light of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) which is affecting some countries worldwide.

This was noted by the minister on Tuesday during a tour of St Joseph’s Hospital in St Andrew, which has been designated a quarantine facility.

Following a travel ban that was placed on China by local authorities, the hospital was last month converted into a quarantine facility for persons who have travelled to China and have been exposed to the disease, but have not displayed any symptoms of it.

However, Tufton said the hospital, which has 14 self-contained rooms and six nurses on staff, currently has no one under quarantine, but will remain open as needed, as the facility is adequately prepared to deal with issues of health or health risks.

“We have the capacity to provide persons with adequate amenities, food, and the medical staff for us to check to see that they are either stable or their condition suggests further investigations,” he said.

At the same time, the minister stressed that it should be clearly understood that the hospital is not an isolation facility, which is distinctly different from a quarantine facility.

He explained that a quarantine facility is used to hold and monitor persons who have been exposed to the disease and have not shown any signs, while an isolation facility is used to house persons who have shown elevated symptoms or temperature, having been exposed to the disease.

The minister again reassured residents of Vineyard Town and surrounding environs that they are at no health risk from the hospital being used as a quarantine centre, this while appealing for their understanding and co-operation.

“I really do hope that the populace and the community appreciate that we’re taking all the necessary steps, and we would not put the community in danger, but it is necessary to have these types of facilities, which is why we have chosen to use the facility here until further notice,” said Tufton.

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