Wed | Dec 1, 2021

COVID fight still not over – doctors

Jamaicans warned to maintain safety as infections plunge

Published:Wednesday | May 12, 2021 | 12:16 AMJudana Murphy/Gleaner Writer

Jamaica has recorded its lowest COVID-19 infections, positivity rate, and hospitalisation numbers since the late March weekend lockdowns.

The health ministry reported that on Monday, 39 samples tested positive, reflecting a 3.3 per cent positivity rate, while 172 people are in hospital.

Hospitalisations fell below 200 for the first time in weeks.

The Government had imposed three consecutive weekend lockdowns for the period March 26 until April 12 as it sought to control a wave of COVID-19 infections.

Following that, stricter weekend curfews were in force, with movement allowed on all days, except public holidays.

At the beginning of the lockdown, 427 people were hospitalised and the country had a 22.6 percent positivity rate.

President of the Medical Association of Jamaica (MAJ), Dr Andrew Manning, described the statistics as positive signs but warned Jamaicans not to become irresponsible.

“We have seen an ease in terms of the pressure on hospitals. We are happy that things are trending in the right direction and it indicates that the measures are working,” said the MAJ president.

Last year, the World Health Organization recommended that countries wait until their positivity rate was below five per cent, for at least two weeks, before considering easing restrictions.

“The Ministry of Health team would have to look at not just that, but the local situation in each parish and then make a decision,” he explained.

Manning reminded Jamaicans that they have the power to slow the spread of the virus by adhering to the protocols.

President of the Jamaica Medical Doctors’ Association (JMDA), Dr Mindi Fitz-Henley, said there is a “clear correlation” between the lockdowns, other restrictions, and the reduction in positive cases.

“I feel almost as good as in the blitz exercise when we were able to vaccinate 75,000 people in a weekend,” an excited Fitz-Henley told The Gleaner.

She urged Jamaicans to continue wearing their masks, businesses to remain rigid on COVID-19 protocols, and to encourage ill persons to stay home and obey isolation orders.

“With everybody’s effort, we have been able to achieve this. We want people to realise that the fight is still not over,” Fitz-Henley reasoned.

Up to Monday, the country recorded 46,821 infections - 23,147 of which are active. There have been 814 deaths.

May 1-10

Lowest infections: 39 cases

Highest infections: 172 cases

Lowest hospitalisations: 172 patients

Highest hospitalisations: 231 patients

Lowest positivity rate: 3.3%

Highest positivity rate: 21.2%

April 1-30

Lowest infections: 67 cases

Highest infections: 482 cases

Lowest hospitalisations: 204 patients

Highest hospitalisations: 456 patients

Lowest positivity rate: 10.8%

Highest positivity rate: 36.1%

March 26-31

Lowest infections: 287 cases

Highest infections: 480 cases

Lowest hospitalisations: 427 patients

Highest hospitalisations: 477 patients

Lowest positivity rate: 22.6%

Highest positivity rate: 33.7%