Tue | Nov 28, 2023

COVID-19 trending down for Christmas

Published:Friday | November 6, 2020 | 12:14 AM
 Chief Medical Officer Dr Jacquiline Bisasor McKenzie.
Chief Medical Officer Dr Jacquiline Bisasor McKenzie.

The downward trend in new coronavirus infections may offer a boon for Jamaicans as the Yuletide season approaches, but the country’s chief medical officer, Jacquiline Bisasor McKenzie, has warned citizens not to let their guard down for fear that crucial gains might be eroded in the lead-up to Christmas.

That serves as good news for a nation fatigued by the virus, which has caused the haemorrhaging of tens of thousands of jobs and could shrink the economy by 10 per cent this fiscal year.

The silver lining offered by Bisasor McKenzie could lift spirits for Christmas, although she urged her countrymen to adhere to health guidelines.

“While we note that we are seeing a trending down at present, we still have to remain in a position of high alert and caution as we approach what is going to be a very busy time of the year,” the chief medical officer said during a press conference on Thursday.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness reported that there were 9,373 confirmed COVID-19 infections in the country as at Wednesday. There are 4,287 active cases.

The weekly positivity rate shows that there has been a downward trajectory from 24.4 per cent at week 38 to just above 10 per cent at week 45. But a plateau has formed since week 42 of the year.

Kingston, St Andrew, St Catherine, St Thomas, Portland, St Elizabeth, Manchester, and Clarendon have seen gradual declines.

The ministry is particularly pleased with the progress in St Thomas, one of the early epicentres of spread, in fighting the virus. At least three communities in the parish have been quarantined since the virus first emerged here in March.

Dr D’Oyen Smith, the medical officer of health in St Thomas, said proactive measures exercised by residents had been instrumental in bringing the virus under control.

At present, there are only four reported active cases in the eastern parish.

Deaths from the virus are also trending down, the ministry disclosed on Thursday.

But some parishes that have been coronavirus-dormant have begun to show increasing numbers.

“For example, Westmoreland, we have seen an increase in the number of cases, and also, we have to take note of what is happening in St Ann. We are seeing a lot of activity now in western and northwestern parishes,” Bisasor McKenzie said, stressing that the ministry would have to pay more attention to those regions.

The ministry said additional ventilators arrived in the country on Thursday although the crisis had not necessitated full engagement of those in stock.