Tourist dies of COVID
Scrutiny on visitor insurance programme
The American tourist who died from COVID-19 complications at the Cornwall Regional Hospital on Monday was reportedly three months pregnant and suffered from a comorbidity.
Thirty-four-year-old Kaishundra Davis died 24 hours after she was transferred from the Noel Holmes Hospital in Lucea, that facility’s senior medical officer, Dr Patrice Monthrope, confirmed to The Gleaner.
“She was in a critical condition and owing to the fact we are a Type C hospital, as soon as space was available at the Cornwall Regional, which is a Type A referral facility, we transferred her there,” said Monthrope.
According to the senior medical officer, he spoke with her husband last Saturday and urged him to airlift her out of the country. However, she had no private health insurance, which would facilitate the payment for airlift from Jamaica.
In a late-night press statement, Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett extended condolences to the family and friends of the deceased.
“Representatives from the Jamaica Tourist Board and other tourism stakeholders are currently providing assistance to the relatives of the guest,” Bartlett said.
Reports are that Davis was diagnosed with the virus approximately 10 days ago after a routine COVID-19 antigen test. She was placed in isolation at the Hedonism II hotel where was vacationing.
Her condition worsened over the isolation period and she was eventually sent to the Noel Holmes Hospital for further care.
The tourist’s death coincides with a wave of coronavirus cases that have fuelled record hospitalisations, deaths, and infections. Jamaica has recorded almost 63,000 cases and more than 1,400 fatalities.
There has been much hoopla about the Jamaica Care Insurance Programme, which has been stalled by procurement red tape, was scheduled to be launched the second week of November 2020. The programme was specifically geared at tourists travelling to the island.
The initiative comprised two components – an all-hazard and a COVID-19 programme – aimed to provide travel protection and emergency services to tourists coming into the island, as well as to ensure the safety and protection of workers in the tourism sector and, by extension, Jamaican citizens.
Efforts to get a comment from Hedonism II’s general manager were unsuccessful as calls to his cellular phone were not answered.
Negril’s Hedonism II has experienced a rash of coronavirus infections among staff and guests in what the hotel described as “a very small outbreak”.
However, well-placed sources informed The Gleaner that over a period of two days, 35 staff tested positive, while a number of guests were discovered to be infected in recent weeks.
The hotel, in a press statement, said that the 280-room property tested more than 1,300 guests, with less than 0.5 per cent testing positive.
“As with other resorts in Negril and indeed other businesses throughout Jamaica, we work daily with the new normal of persons contracting the virus,” Hedonism said.