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Manchester MC to set up COVID isolation areas in hurricane shelters

Published:Tuesday | June 9, 2020 | 12:28 AMTamara Bailey/Gleaner Writer

Mandeville, Manchester :

MAYOR OF Mandeville Donovan Mitchell has said that the Manchester Municipal Corporation has been making plans for the active hurricane season despite the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The normal preparation cannot be the same. For our shelters, we now have to think about isolation areas if someone is positive for COVID or becomes ill during the period. Different elements of preparation are now being put in place,” Mitchell said.

He said that COVID-19 has affected the availability of funds, and additional measures would now have to be employed to ensure that priorities are met.

“There are limited funds, and where you could get funds for something that would have to be diverted to taking care of the nation’s health, one would want $100 million, but if you get $10 million, you still have to prioritise and make sure the things that need to be done are done.”

Planning a priority

The mayor said that proper planning has always been a priority, and even with the limited funding, the possibility of moving funds around to match each need has been made possible.

“… We have ways to make sure that things are done from whatever funds we get for road maintenance. There is a section of the law that says we ought to put away 20 per cent for emergencies, and so we do,” said Mitchell.

He noted that some preparation is done throughout the year, which makes the process less burdensome closer to the start of the hurricane period. The hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30.

“We clean drains every three months. We are about 70 per cent or more prepared for the hurricane season. We are making sure our stand-by generators are working at the different locations. Last week, we checked the generators at the infirmary, the Emergency Operation Centre, among other areas,” the mayor said.

Mitchell said that the Disaster Preparedness Management Committee would be meeting today to fine-tune plans for the way forward.

“We are now going to be dealing with the matter on Villa Road, that area that is prone to flooding. In the coming weeks, around June 28, that roadway will be closed for about two days for major work to de done to mitigate that problem of flooding.”

He admitted that the pandemic has brought some positives as with more persons staying home and abiding by the imposed curfew, the streets, though still cleaned daily, have less debris.

“It’s less dirty. We have less persons going into the town centre, and the traffic is not what it used to be.”