As Ministry of Health & Wellness employees queued up outside the RKA Building in New Kingston yesterday, to get tested for COVID-19, one man joined in from off the streets, hoping to hear encouraging news about his friend, a driver with the ministry, who tested positive for the novel corona virus.
Gerald Hylton, who washes motor vehicles in the New Kingston area, told The Gleaner that he hoped to get tested inside the ministry’s offices, to know his status and to also get an update on the driver.
It is unclear how the driver contracted the virus but ministry of health officials, including Permanent Secretary Dunstan Bryan and employees who may have been in close contact with him, have been tested and some advised to quarantine themselves. Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton tested negative for the virus.
As employees stood in long lines waiting to be tested, Hylton expressed sympathy for the driver whose diagnosis has caused him to be worried.
“I am one of the top car washers in New Kingston. That man is my best friend. He is a driver and he never passes without conversing with me, whether day or night.”
Meanwhile, Dr Tufton told The Gleaner the building was being properly cleansed and that those in queues outside as well as those who were already inside came for testing and counselling.
The minister shared that all other businesses operating within the complex were advised on Thursday night to take their own precautionary measures as a result of the developments. For the most part, these businesses closed their doors in response or scaled down operations drastically yesterday.
“We have a protocol that will trigger all necessary responses. The clinical team will decide who are the close contacts and who needs to be quarantined at home or otherwise and who needs to be tested,” Tufton said.
One female employee told The Gleaner that she wanted to know her status as she stood in proximity, last week, to the driver who tested positive.
Another employee indicated discomfort with testing, saying she disliked having her nostrils and throat thoroughly swabbed by medical professionals.