WATCH: Health workers move to contain COVID spread at Golden Age Home
Health care workers outside a mobile testing unit at the Golden Age Home in Vineyard Town, St Andrew on Wednesday.
The Ministry of Health and Wellness will conduct testing on all 428 residents andn162 staff members of the Golden Age Home in Vineyard Town, St Andrew within the next two days in an effort to contain the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) at the facility.
Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton, speaking at a virtual press briefing on Wednesday, said the fast-tracking process will be aided by two mobile testing units.
The outbreak at the facility was detected when a 73-year-old symptomatic resident was taken to the Kingston Public Hospital and a test done on October 13, with the result two days later having a positive reading.
Last Saturday, October 17, the ministry implemented enhanced surveillance with testing and contact tracing; some 72 samples were taken from 61 residents and 11 staff members and 46 returned positive results, 43 of which were for residents and three staff members.
According to Tufton, the ministry along with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development will be implementing several measures along with the established protocols to have the best possible outcomes for those affected.
Tufton said, already, an alert has been issued with officials engaging stakeholders as the investigation into the outbreak at the facility continues.
He said that those awaiting results are being placed into quarantine as residents and members of staff with symptoms are being monitored while the neighbouring St Joseph’s Hospital, National Chest Hospital and the University Hospital of the West Indies will be used for care when required.
“Both ministries have identified that staff are also at risk, especially those who may have comorbidities and therefore the welfare of these team members are being taken into consideration in the strategies that we have employed.
“We wish to advise the public that the established systems in place at the Golden Age Home have the essential requirements for self-managed resident cohorting until the outbreak is controlled, which we placed between 14 and 21 days,” Tufton said.
According to Tufton, other measures that have immediately taken effect are restricted movement between various areas of the home, strict enforcement of no visitor rule, strict adherence to infection controlled measures and the wearing of masks at all times.
He said the majority of the admissions to the home is older than 60 years, which is among the most vulnerable among the population for COVID-19, with many of them having comorbidities.
“We know that family members of the Golden Age Home, residents and staff, may have heightened concern and we wish to indicate to them that the government is providing all the necessary provisions to ensure the best outcome for this outbreak.
“We will deploy resources to include a visit by medical doctors daily to the facility and any other clinical support necessary, to include equipment and pharmaceuticals to ensure the safety and wellbeing of both staff and residents,” Tufton said.