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St James businesses face COVID-19 compliance issues

Published:Monday | March 15, 2021 | 12:05 AMChristopher Thomas/ Gleaner Writer
Roshaye McFarlane.
Roshaye McFarlane.


The St James Public Health Department says while there has been general compliance to the COVID-19 protocols in the parish, there are still some issues that need to be addressed. The health department said there is reportedly overcrowding in some business establishments and disregard for mask-wearing at some business process outsourcing (BPO) companies.

Roshaye McFarlane, acting chief public health inspector for St James, made the revelation in her monthly report at the St James Municipal Corporation (StJMC) last Thursday.

“We continue our ‘all hands on deck’ programme, and we continue to monitor the business places and nursing homes. Over a four-week period, we were able to visit 291 business places, and from this, we have had a 71 per cent compliance rate. But the main challenge we are having with the business places is the issue of overcrowding in the stores,” said McFarlane.

“For the BPOs, we were able to monitor 37 of the 43 in St James, and we had a 68 per cent compliance rate. The main challenge with the BPOs is the wearing of masks, so when they are on the production floor, we are having issues with them keeping on their masks,” said McFarlane. “Also, when we visit them and ask them to provide a cleaning schedule, we are having some challenges there as well.”

McFarlane’s report came in the wake of Wednesday’s islandwide roll-out of the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 vaccination programme. In St James, approximately 804 vaccines were administered out of the 50,000 doses which were supplied for the country.

Up to press time, St James has recorded 3,182 COVID-19 cases out of Jamaica’s total 29,387 cases, which has it maintaining its ranking as the parish with the third-highest number of recorded cases, behind Kingston and St Andrew’s 8,435 and St Catherine’s 5,653. St James is the parish with the highest number of cases under the Western Regional Health Authority’s jurisdiction, ahead of Westmoreland’s 1,166, Trelawny’s 1,061, and Hanover’s 810.