Prime Minister Andrew Holness yesterday said Jamaica has confirmed its 16th case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), adding that his government will build more facilities and procure drugs to meet the increase expected in COVID-19 cases on the island.
He disclosed that the sixteenth confirmed victim of the virus travelled from New York on March 10 and has been isolated at St. Ann’s Bay Hospital in St. Ann since March 17.
The prime minister said there are 39 persons in isolation at hospitals across the island, 25 in Government quarantine and 99 in home quarantine.
He added: “Of the 16 confirmed cases, 11 are imported cases, and five are contacts of the first patient (Patient 1). Of the 11 imported cases, six are Jamaicans. Contact tracing and monitoring are underway for the confirmed cases, and 577 contacts are being followed. Since the advent of the first case, the Ministry of Health and Wellness has conducted 80 tests with a positive yield of 20 percent.”
The prime minister, in the meantime, said his administration has placed Jamaica on a good footing to be on the path of slower spread and lower infections regarding COVID-19.
“From the data and looking at the experience of other countries, it is my duty to prepare the minds of the Jamaican people to understand that cases of COVID-19 will increase and there may even be instances of rapid increase.
“However, I believe we have taken all the necessary measures to ensure that existing cases are contained, and new infections are minimised,” he further said.
The prime minister also cautioned: “Refusing to abide by quarantine rules, falsely declaring travel information, failure to observe the social distancing measures, and a lack of care in observing the recommended hygiene practices makes you a ‘weak fence’ in the community effort to contain and slow the spread of the Coronavirus.”
He, during his contribution to the Budget Debate yesterday, also made the following disclosures:
- Government has secured 400,000 N95 masks and other personal protective equipment for health workers – improving their capacity to respond with confidence during the epidemic.
- Government is spending over J$150 million to develop new quarantine sites to house an additional 150 persons.
- Over J$287 million is now being spent to retrofit various hospitals and health facilities to create surge capacity to be able to accommodate patients during the peak of the epidemic.
- J$198 million is being used to purchase equipment like ventilators for the High Dependency Units in various hospitals.
- J$547 million is now being used to procure drugs specifically for the treatment of COVID-19.
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