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Norwood residents should get involved in coronavirus fight

Published:Monday | July 6, 2020 | 12:10 AMChristopher Thomas/ Gleaner Writer
Dr Beverly Scott
Dr Beverly Scott


Western Jamaica-based therapist Dr Beverly Scott believes the Ministry of Health and Wellness should involve the residents of Norwood, St James, in programmes promoting sanitisation and social distancing, and provide counselling for their children.

Last week, the Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA) placed Norwood under a ‘COVID-19 surveillance’ after a number of cases of the coronavirus were discovered.

“There is a need for a rigorous campaign right now in the community, for people to keep themselves safe and to understand what is happening and reduce the level of panic,” Scott told The Gleaner. “I think Norwood should be like one big organisation now, where people are at the entrance of the community with sanitation stations, so nobody who is driving, walking or riding can go in without being sanitised.

“They also need to remember the children, because some of them are traumatised and many of them do not have access to social media or the Internet to keep them occupied ... they could well be suffering from some amount of anxiety as to what the future holds,” Scott added. “We should get people to go in there and talk to the families as to how they are doing, like how they take up a census.”

A team of 40 healthcare professionals from the WRHA was sent to Norwood to conduct house-to-house visits in order to assess the residents for respiratory symptoms related to the virus. It was confirmed that 15 cases were linked to Norwood, eight of which were imported and seven import-related.

In addition to suggesting that Norwood’s residents should be directly involved in the COVID-19 fight, Scott recommended that residents of surrounding communities should be similarly equipped. She said that this could include employing unattached youth to manage sanitisation stations at the entrances to their communities.

“The health authorities should visit communities neighbouring Norwood and educate them, get them prepared, and help them to secure their community. They should set up sanitation stations at the entrances. There are a lot of young men and women who haven’t got much to do now, so they could man those stations,” said Scott.

A similar initiative was previously launched in the neighbouring parish of Hanover, where residents installed several community sanitisation stations and enforced strict observation of the various safety protocols. This resulted in Hanover not recording a single case of the coronavirus for several months.

In April, residents of Waterford in Portmore, St Catherine, set up a handwashing station with a 200-gallon water tank at the Waterford bus park, where commuters could wash their hands before boarding buses and taxis.