Fri | Dec 4, 2020

Government considers more health care workers next year for COVID fight

Published:Friday | April 24, 2020 | 12:00 AM
Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton (right) on a tour of the Mandeville Regional Hospital with other health officials - Tamara Bailey photo

Tamara Bailey, Gleaner Writer

MANDEVILLE, Manchester
Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton today revealed that the Government is working on a plan for new health care workers next year to help in Jamaica's COVID fight.

Speaking during a tour of the Mandeville Regional Hospital, Tufton did not provide details of the plan.

However, for the first time, he publicly gave an insight into the long-term expectations.

"We are working on a plan now that will see us sustaining a fairly vigilant approach over the next year as it relates to COVID and future possible transmission," said Tufton.

According to the health minister, the current contingent of health workers will suffer burn out.

"We have to plan for next year on the assumption that the virus will spread, until the country develops some immunity," he said.

In the meantime, Tufton says as the number of coronavirus cases increases, people with mild symptoms will have to recover at home.

While he was making that declaration, there were 257 COVID cases in Jamaica with the central parishes of Manchester, St Elizabeth and Clarendon, accounting for 44.

Ten of the 44 patients had been discharged.

Since then, the national tally has increased to 288 with 31 new cases Friday evening.

In Manchester, the Kendal Camp and Conference Centre has been converted into an isolation facility.

Tufton said it will continue to run as a half-way house for recovering patients with plans to transform other facilities if the need arises. 

"We have 24 persons in state run isolation facilities and 11 in home isolation," said Tufton referring to the central Jamaica region.

He said, the limited bed spaces in the region's facilities is another reason for the home isolation push.

"We say we have 1.5 million people who may get the virus , we don't have 1.5 million beds, for COVID. We have 30 beds in May Pen, 20 in Mandeville, 16 at Percy Junor, 24 in Black River and 30 at the transition house at Kendal conference Centre," said Tufton.

Patients in home quarantine in Central Jamaica
Clarendon - 119 
Manchester - 20 
St Elizabeth - 17 

Contact tracing  in Central Jamaica
Clarendon - 442 
Manchester - 13
St Elizabeth - 19

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