Sun | Oct 25, 2020

JALGO concerned about delayed COVID results for public health inspectors

Published:Monday | September 21, 2020 | 7:16 PM
General Secretary of JALGO, Helene Davis-White

The Jamaica Association of Local Government Officers (JALGO) says it has sought the intervention of Dunstan Bryan, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Health & Wellness, in an effort to ensure that COVID-19 test results for public health inspectors and vector control staff that have been outstanding since September 16, are released.  

General Secretary of JALGO, Helene Davis-White, in a letter to Bryan, said that the members' concern is that there seems to be no priority being given to the testing of health care workers.

The letter, which was also copied to Health Minister, Dr Chris Tufton, said that assurances were given by "operatives from the Ministry of Health and Wellness that health care workers would be given priority in the testing regime and therefore their results would be available within 24 to 48 hours of the tests having been conducted."

Davis-White said that the undue delay in the provision of the results has affected various programmes of the Health Department including dengue mitigation, COVID-19 response and food hygiene programmes, as the entire vector control staff and a significant number of public health inspectors have been quarantined, awaiting their test results.  

JALGO says it is also concerned about workplace protocols, specifically physical distancing, as this is almost impossible in the conditions under which workers carry out their functions.  

Davis-White says the union is therefore requesting that the permanent secretary intervene to ensure to ensure that the outstanding test results be released promptly and that going forward, measures be pout in place for tests of health care workers to be treated as priority.

She added that specific instructions should be given for the implementation of a work from home policy and that where possible, the offices be retrofitted to allow for the requisite social distancing.

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