Monday 21 September, 2020

COVID-19 cases up to 233; five MOHW workers among latest infections

The number confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Jamaica has increased by 10 to 233 over the last 24 hours.

Five of the latest 10 cases are employees of the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW) and are contacts of a confirmed case.

The ministry in a statement Tuesday evening said three of the cases are related to the Alorica call centre in Portmore, St Catherine and two who are under investigation.

In relation to the health ministry, the latest cases bring to six, the number of employees at MOHW who have contracted the virus.

The confirmation of the latest positive tests at the Ministry was made earlier by the Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton. He said the ministry will continue to give support to staff, families and close contacts of the affected employees with the appropriate treatment, contact tracing and counselling.

Additionally, Tufton said there will be further deep cleaning of the ministry’s New Kingston offices.

When an employee who is said to be a driver at the ministry tested positive last week, Permanent Secretary Dunstan Bryan, who was said to be in close contact with the driver, opted to self isolate.

The development also prompted Tufton to get tested. The test was negative.

At a Jamaica House press conference on Monday, Prime Minister Andrew Holness revealed that he and all members of his Cabinet tested negative for COVID-19.

"All the Cabinet members and myself and also a few of our permanent secretaries were tested on Friday last for COVID-19, and we have put in place measures at the Cabinet office to deal with the situation we are currently facing.

"We also took some time on Friday, to reflect on our own circumstances and operations to ensure the continuation of Government during the time of this epidemic,” Holness said.

"We have now gotten back all the results and all are negative," the prime minister added.

Meanwhile, the ministry said Jamaica now has 34 imported cases of COVID-19; eight were transmitted locally with no epidemiological link; 52 are contacts of a confirmed case; and 139 under investigation.

The 139 under investigation are comprised of 124 cases that are within the Alorica workplace cluster and 15 others.

So far, 1,936 samples have been tested: 233 are positive, including six ninistry employees; 1,695 are negative; and eight are pending.

There are 184 persons in isolation and 24 in quarantine in a Government facility. Six people have died while 27 have recovered.

“Concerning the Ministry employees who have tested positive, contact tracing is being done to determine their level of exposure to other team members. They will be monitored by the health team and provided with the necessary support during this period,’ the statement said.

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