Thu | Oct 21, 2021

Call for deep-cleaning of Hopewell market as vendors fall ill

Published:Tuesday | March 9, 2021 | 12:18 AMBryan Miller/Gleaner Writer


With at least three vendors at the Hanover Municipal Corporation-operated market in the western parish having tested positive for the coronavirus recently – one of whom has died – there are calls for the facility to be deep-cleaned to ease shoppers’ fears.

“I will be calling the HMC (Hanover Municipal Corporation) and the Hanover Health Department (HHD) to see what can be done because even though we know that the market is the source of income for a number of vendors, the overall good health of the wider community is essential to the continued operation of the facility,” said Petra Foster, president of the Hopewell Community Development Committee.

“We will be making contact ... with a view to seeing how they can get the facility deep-cleaned and sanitised to quell the fears of the residents of the area,” he told The Gleaner.

Dr Kaushal Singh, medical officer of health for Hanover, told The Gleaner yesterday that he was concerned about the situation in the Hopewell area in general and not only in the market.

“We have already advised the public-health inspectors to go there and look into the situation, and when I get the report, I will decide what we will do,” said Singh, adding that personal responsibility was also key to curbing the spread of the virus.

“We (the people) need to take precaution, to use masks, and sanitise frequently. It is not a one-day thing. ... It is not only the Hopewell market, but the whole Hopewell area is affected.

Of the over 700 positive COVID-19 cases identified in Hanover over the past year, 125 have been in Hopewell.

Hanover has recorded more than 100 COVID-19 cases since the start of March.

Hopewell became the focus of the HHD within weeks when the Hopewell Door of Faith, Church of God Worship Centre, was asked to cease operation temporarily after contact tracing done by the HHD led to the church and two business places.

Singh said that in comparison to other countries with larger populations, Jamaica’s infection ratio is too high.

“We did two sampling outreach in the Hopewell area in two weeks, and from there, we got a lot of positive cases,” said Singh. “It is frustrating to the Health Department team as they know that a number of persons in the parish are going to suffer because of the situation. It is more painful when you know the [Noel Holmes] Hospital is already full more than three times, so the people need to take some extra measures,” said Singh.