Wednesday 30 September, 2020

Radical change to COVID-19 recovery policy in Jamaica

National epidemiologist, Dr Karen Webster-Kerr. (Photo: Jamaica Information Service)

National epidemiologist, Dr Karen Webster-Kerr. (Photo: Jamaica Information Service)

COVID-19 patients in Jamaica will no longer need to secure two negative tests before they are discharged from care or deemed to have recovered from the virus.

This is according to national epidemiologist, Dr Karen Webster-Kerr. She made the announcement on Thursday as she addressed the Ministry of Health and Wellness’ weekly press briefing titled, ‘COVID Conversations’.

The epidemiologist explained that the new policy should result in an increasing number of persons being classified as having recovered from the virus.

Jamaica had for months insisted that COVID-19 patients secure two negative tests for the coronavirus before they are released from care, while in some countries persons were returning to work in less than two weeks after having tested positive for the virus.

In explaining the change, Webster-Kerr said: “In the early part of the outbreak you had to have two consecutive negative swabs to be discharged. We have moved away from that because the science is showing that of these cases, after 10 or 14 days they are really dead particles.”

Webster-Kerr said once a person has done 14 days in quarantine and presents without symptoms for at least three of those days, that person can be discharged.

Of the 3,511 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Jamaica, there have been 1,051 recoveries. There are 2,342 cases that are classified as active, but with the new approach, the number of recoveries is expected to rise significantly.

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