Thu | Jan 21, 2021

COVID field hospital coming

Published:Friday | September 11, 2020 | 12:16 AM
Dr Christopher Tufton, minister of health and wellness.
Dr Christopher Tufton, minister of health and wellness.

As COVID-19 numbers continue to mount in Jamaica, the Government is expecting the arrival of infrastructure to build out a field hospital within two weeks.

Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton disclosed on Thursday evening that the field hospital is to be built in the Corporate Area and will add a capacity of 80 beds the public-health system.

Work has already got under way, with the base for the facility currently under construction.

The health minister stated that the field hospital is being built in collaboration with a bilateral partner of Jamaica.

“The expansion of capacity, and in particular COVID beds, is very much an important part of the plans going forward, and, in fact, we have made substantial progress,” Tufton said during a media briefing on the coronavirus pandemic.

“It was always a part of the plan but a part of a phased approach where we would put it in play when we needed it most. Now is the time.”

Tufton also disclosed that field hospitals would also be built in mid-island and western Jamaica.

Jamaica recorded two additional COVID-19 deaths on Thursday, bringing overall fatalities to 40. The island also recorded 74 new cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 3,511.

According to the Ministry of Health and Wellness, the two deaths involve a 90-year-old man from Kingston and St Andrew, and a 34-year-old woman with a St James address. The ministry said both deceased had underlying illnesses.

Chief Epidemiologist Dr Karen Webster Kerr disclosed on Thursday that there would be a change in how patients who have been recovering from COVID-19 would be discharged from isolation.

The ministry will no longer depend on the confirmation of two consecutive negative results.

“We have moved away from that. The science is showing that a lot of these cases, after 10, 14 days are really dead particles (in patients). What the PCR test does is test the genetic material,” she said of the polymerase chain reaction testing model.

As a result of the policy shift, Webster Kerr said that reported recoveries would increase in the coming days.