Friday 25 September, 2020

Guy calls for review of COVID screening protocols amid spike in cases

Dr Morais Guy

Dr Morais Guy

Opposition Spokesperson on Health, Dr Morais Guy says the spike in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and the increased number of hospitalisations  in Jamaica demand that the government immediately review the existing safety protocols

This, he said in a statement, is to ensure the safety of all Jamaicans, particularly the most vulnerable citizens.

Jamaica has recorded double-digit increases in coronavirus cases for three consecutive days, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 920. On Monday, the country reported a record increase in the number of positive COVID-19 hospitalisations.

Guy said the spike is beyond concerning and requires immediate action, especially considering the unfortunate deaths of two persons in recent times. He said the rise in numbers also has implications for the reopening of schools, which is planned for September.

“Already we have seen young children turning up with the virus-like symptoms, and some may be positive for the coronavirus and would be spreading it to others who will take it home and infect vulnerable seniors,” Guy said.

He said the continued delay in test results has worsened the situation as persons may have tested positive, but are unaware of their status for 14 days and beyond, while they continue to interact with others, inadvertently spreading the deadly virus.

“No one can be sure of the true spread of this virus without adequate testing. The two unfortunate deaths signal that persons may be ill at home and not coming forward until it is too late. Without prompt testing and timely test results, we will not know how to treat this virus and persons in communities, in the health sector and the funeral services sector can be adversely exposed,” Guy said.

At least one health worker in St Thomas has tested positive for the virus, and a funeral home retrieved the body of a patient without the knowledge that the person was a COVID-19 victim, according to Guy.

“We cannot wait for things to get worse before we take decisive action to halt the further spread of this virus. The government has the responsibility to act now in the best interest of the country. At the same time, every Jamaican must endeavour to wear masks in public, sanitise and wash hands frequently, refrain from large gatherings and practice social distancing in public spaces,” Guy said.

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