Thu | Aug 6, 2020

Norwood keen on preventing COVID-19 spread

Published:Monday | July 13, 2020 | 12:11 AMChristopher Thomas/Gleaner Writer

WESTERN BUREAU:

After almost two weeks of surveillance following an explosion of COVID-19 cases in their community, residents of Norwood in St James have expressed satisfaction with the efforts of the health authorities to stem further spread of the virus.

The community was placed under surveillance by the Western Regional Health Authority on June 26 after it recorded 15 cases of the coronavirus – eight of which were labelled imported and seven import-related. The parish of St James has recorded 55 cases.

Last Friday, as health officials, including Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton, toured the community, residents said they had been doing what they can to keep the virus from spreading.

“I feel good about this tour, but we are used to hearing about COVID already because we have persons living here who are working with the health authorities, so we are protected,” said 31-year-old Rene Watson, who said her neighbours had been giving her important information and advice.

Another resident, 70-year-old George Lightbody, said the tour was useful in spreading awareness, but residents need to ensure that the virus doesn’t overwhelm Norwood.

“If it wasn’t for efforts like this, people down here would be dead like flies. It’s just for the people to cooperate now and keep it up same way,” he said

During the tour, Tufton said the infected residents had been relocated from the community and were undergoing treatment.

“The rest of the community is in perfect order and can move around, go to the store, and travel via the public-transport system,” he said. “I am saying to the people of St James that Norwood is healthy and must be given the same treatment as any other community in the parish.”

His statement followed a call made by Sherika Lewis, acting chief public health inspector for St James, last Thursday, urging employers not to terminate the services of employees from communities where cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed.

“No businessplace should send home any worker on the basis that they are from a community where the Ministry of Health and Wellness has identified cases of COVID-19,” she said, addressing the monthly meeting of the St James Municipal Corporation.

She pointed out that the heightened surveillance in the community was not a reason to fear as this was in keeping with the local health services’ guidelines to accurately track all local cases of COVID-19 locally.

“We want to ensure that our protocols, which we have already established in terms of surveillance, are carried out in the best way possible. We have a system in place, where when there is an outbreak of COVID-19 in communities, these cases are contained and all the appropriate measures are taken to prevent further spread in the community,” said Lewis.

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