Wed | Dec 1, 2021

‘Seek medical help for COVID-19, don’t just wait and see’

Doctor implores persons who suspect they have the virus to contact nearest medical facility

Published:Wednesday | March 10, 2021 | 12:13 AMChristopher Thomas/Gleaner Writer


Dr Melody Ennis, director of family health in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, believes that citizens’ hesitation to get tested for COVID-19 is due to the ‘watch-it-and-see’ culture, which has resulted in them monitoring symptoms at home instead of seeking medical attention.

While addressing an online Zoom-enabled meeting on COVID-19 safety measures and vaccine sensitisation, which was hosted by the Washington Gardens Seventh-day Adventist Church in Kingston on Sunday, Ennis said that it is important for persons who suspect they have the virus to contact their nearest medical facility for advice.

“Part of our culture is ‘mek mi watch it little’, and we are all guilty of ‘watching it a little’. But what we have seen with COVID-19 infections is that people tend to deteriorate quickly. So today they just have a little sniffle, and then by the next day, especially if they are old or have co-morbid conditions, they cannot breathe and they are really out of it,” Ennis told the meeting.

“If you are managing at home, you do not rush to seek treatment, but you should definitely call and get advice, describe your symptoms honestly, and be told if you should come in,” Ennis added. “If you are going to the facility, walk with your hand sanitiser, have your mask on properly, and maintain your distance once you are there and get assessed; and as soon as you get assessed, you need to leave.”

Ennis’ recommendation follows a warning from Consumer Affairs Commission Chief Executive Officer Dolsie Allen in January, that members of the public should only seek COVID-19 testing from authorised medical facilities. That warning came on the heels of a report from the Ministry of Health and Wellness that several unauthorised, makeshift labs have emerged in response to the increasing demand for COVID-19 testing services.

Ennis also told Sunday’s Zoom meeting that persons need to be more compassionate and respectful in voicing differences of opinion about COVID-19 vaccines.

“All of us in healthcare and in society are a little bit stressed, but we need to be a little bit kinder and gentler. I see all of the things that are going around on social media, even about not taking the vaccines, and persons are entitled to their own opinions. But there is this hostile, aggressive, and undisciplined way of stating your facts that show how coarse we are,” said Ennis.