Sat | Jan 22, 2022

Sav COVID ward full

Published:Saturday | March 13, 2021 | 12:20 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer
Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton (left) speaks with Audrey Samuels Gilling, senior public health nurse in the St James Public Health Services, during the minister’s tour of western Jamaica following Wednesday’s start of the governm
Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton (left) speaks with Audrey Samuels Gilling, senior public health nurse in the St James Public Health Services, during the minister’s tour of western Jamaica following Wednesday’s start of the government’s COVID-19 vaccination programme.

WESTERN BUREAU:

Dr Marcia Graham, medical officer of health at the Westmoreland Public Health Services, said that the parish’s 34-bed COVID-19 ward is full to capacity and overflowing.

“When we look at our isolation ward, we are at 115 per cent occupancy. We currently have 34 isolation beds and we would have activated our surge area, which has 22 beds. We are up to 34 beds and we have 39 persons,” said Graham.

The medical officer made the revelation while providing an update on the health status of the parish during Thursday’s meeting of the Westmoreland Municipal Corporation. She said that of 39 persons now in hospital, 11 have been confirmed to have the COVID-19 virus and 28 are suspected to have contracted the novel coronavirus.

“It means that every day we are getting people who are suspected and before we can get back their results, we have to treat them as if they are COVID positive, and put them in isolation. So (yes), it’s putting a strain on the hospital,” Graham said.

The medical officer of health said that the overall bed occupancy at the Savanna-la-Mar Public General Hospital is at 85.4 per cent, where 182 of the 230 beds are now in use.

According to the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 clinical management summary for Thursday, March 11, Westmoreland recorded eight new infections. The parish now has 1,166 cases.

Graham said that 738 persons are in home quarantine, including 554 persons who returned from overseas recently.

“We have another 184 persons who are close contacts of confirmed cases for which the health team has been quite busy tracing,” she said.

Vaccination programme

Jamaica on Wednesday started its vaccination programme aimed at reaching herd immunity against the COVID-19 virus. The health ministry said that more than 3,000 persons have now been vaccinated, 12 of whom have reported side effects – all of them mild and includes rashes, swelling, dizziness, and nausea.

Even as the inoculation programme gets under way, Graham is urging residents of Westmoreland not to let down their guard.

“On the first day we vaccinated 170 persons, 94 were healthcare workers who were vaccinated at the Savanna-la-Mar hospital and we have another 76 who were vaccinated at the Savanna-la-Mar health clinic,” said Graham.

“We had people in their 80s with co-morbidities. I really want to applaud the citizens of Westmoreland for embracing the COVID-19 vaccines ... persons kept coming, they wanted it from day one – there were even some who had a medical appointment at the hospital who decided not to go back home without getting the vaccine,” added Graham.