Mon | Jan 18, 2021

CRH restoration work won’t hinder antigen testing – Tufton

Published:Monday | November 30, 2020 | 12:05 AMChristopher Thomas/Gleaner Writer
Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton (centre) stands with front-line workers from the St James Health Department, along with Lennox Wallace (left), parish manager of the St James Health Department, and Leeroy Williams (second left), mayor of Montego Bay,
Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton (centre) stands with front-line workers from the St James Health Department, along with Lennox Wallace (left), parish manager of the St James Health Department, and Leeroy Williams (second left), mayor of Montego Bay, during the launch of the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 ‘Mask up before you talk up’ signs and pandemic awareness programme for the Christmas season.

WESTERN BUREAU:

Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton has dismissed concerns about the Cornwall Regional Hospital’s (CRH) capability to adequately deliver antigen testing for COVID-19 amid the facility’s ongoing restoration work, which is set to be completed between late 2021 and early 2022.

Speaking to journalists during Thursday’s launch of the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 ‘Mask up before you talk up’ signs and pandemic awareness programme for the Christmas season in Montego Bay, Tufton said that while the hospital’s main building is undergoing restoration, the facility itself is still providing much-needed medical services for people seeking treatment.

“The CRH as a provider of hospital services is intact, and has offered services to thousands and hundreds of thousands every year since the rehabilitation started [in 2017]. So there is no issue as to whether or not CRH can offer antigen testing, because the facilities are there, the doctors are there, and we have made adequate provisions to deal with that,” said Tufton.

“Anybody who lives in this area and requires hospital care knows they can go to the CRH. Do not confuse the rehabilitation of the main building with the provision of services, as those services are there even while we try to correct the issues on the main building,” Tufton added.

CRH, which is the only Type A hospital in western Jamaica, is one of nine selected medical facilities across Jamaica which have received batches of a 30-minute antigen testing kit from the Ministry of Health and Wellness, in a pilot programme scheduled to last one month.

Concerning the CRH’s restoration work, which began in response to a noxious-fumes issue in 2017, which caused several of the hospital’s departments to be moved from its first three floors, Tufton said a definite date for its completion could not be given at this time as the pandemic had shifted the scope of work to be done.

“There is no date right now, as COVID has created some challenges for many of our capital projects, including the CRH and the Western Children’s Hospital [which is under construction on the CRH’s grounds]. Because it has slowed down some activities, we have to recalibrate that and look at what is happening,” said Tufton.

The CRH’s restoration work was previously scheduled for completion in December this year. However, in October, the Professor Archibald McDonald-led committee, which is overseeing the restoration project, announced that the work would likely be finished in late 2021 or early 2022.