Jamaica today recorded its first death from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
A 79-year-old man from Clarendon tested positive today and died this afternoon in Manchester, said Chief Medical Officer Jacquiline Bisasor-Mckenzie.
She told a press briefing a short while ago that the man has a travel history from New York in the United States.
“He is known to have diabetes and hypertension. He presented to the Lionel Town Hospital on the 16th of March with fever, cough and shortness of breath. At that time, he was noted to be critically ill and was transferred to the Mandeville Public General Hospital where he was isolated and treated,” Bisasor-Mckenzie disclosed.
She added: “The patient had shown some improvement yesterday, March 17th, but today his condition started to deteriorate. His test came back positive today for COVID-19. He continued to deteriorate today and, during the process of transferring him to the University Hospital of the West Indies – before he was able to leave the Mandeville Public General Hospital, he demised at approximately 3PM.”
Bisasor-Mckenzie added that the bereaved family has been informed about the death, and a Public Health team is at the hospital in Mandeville and at the home of the deceased.
The island now has a total of 15 confirmed COVID-19 cases.
Meanwhile, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Dunstan Bryan, noted that coronavirus is not a death sentence.
“The case [of death] that we have today is a part of the high risk group that COVID-19 will impact negatively – elderly, comorbidities – meaning having chronic diseases in most instances. Therefore, we have to manage that information and let the public know that the recovery rate for COVID internationally is moving in the right direction… We have to send that message out; it is not a death sentence.”
Bryan disclosed that 28 people are now in isolation in hospitals.
He added that 25 persons are in Government facilities for quarantine, and 91 are in home quarantine – excluding people in community quarantine at 7 and 8 Miles in Bull Bay.
The permanent secretary also noted that 458 people entered the island since January 31 from a country of interest regarding COVID-19.
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