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WRHA watching COVID trend as cases fall

Published:Thursday | January 27, 2022 | 12:09 AMChristopher Thomas/Gleaner Writer


Despite the confirmed local presence of the Omicron strain of the virus that causes COVID-19, the Western Regional Health Authority’s (WRHA) regional director, St Andrade Sinclair, is confident that the medical facilities under his supervision can handle any further surges in coronavirus cases.

Speaking to The Gleaner on Wednesday, Sinclair said that the 50-bed field hospital on the grounds of the Savanna-la-Mar Public Hospital, which was slated for this month, had its deadline moved to February 3.

“Out of a meeting that I had yesterday (Tuesday), there is a decline in the COVID numbers that we are seeing right now. However, I am watching the trend because it can change any minute, although so far, it looks like it is going south (down),” said Sinclair.

The WRHA director pointed to the region’s lower COVID figures, compared to those recorded in the Southern Regional Health Authority (SRHA) and the South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA), especially.

On Tuesday, January 25, the WRHA recorded 54 new COVID-19 cases, with the SRHA seeing 58, while the SERHA had 380.

“We are seeing a totally different thing in the western region. The SRHA and the SERHA are seeing some rapid increases in cases, but we are seeing something close to stable and declining numbers. But let us watch the trend for another week and a half,” Sinclair explained.

His declaration came a day after Prime Minister Andrew Holness told the House of Representatives that approximately 40 out of 43 samples – or 93 per cent – tested between December 21 and 24 were found to be positive for the Omicron variant, confirming it to be the dominant strain in the island.

“This Omicron that is going around is not anything different from what you get with the flu, or at least that is what I am picking up. from the data I am getting,” Sinclair said yesterday. “It is not causing any mortalities, and after a couple of days, people get back to their normal lives.”

The latest COVID-19 wave has hit the healthcare workers hard, with some 130 under the WRHA’s umbrella having been infected, leading to a vacation restriction being enforced for the next two months due to staff constraints.

As at Tuesday, Jamaica has recorded 121,963 total COVID-19 infections since the pandemic’s initial outbreak in March 2020. There are currently 11,814 active cases of the virus in-country, while 68,749 persons have recovered.