Sat | Oct 23, 2021

HMC establishes high-profile COVID-19 task force

Published:Thursday | September 16, 2021 | 12:06 AMBryan Miller/Gleaner Writer


In a bold bid to curtail the spread of the deadly COVID-19, Lucea Mayor Sheridan Samuels has established a high-profile task force to execute an ‘all-hands-on-deck’ approach to deal with the troublesome medical crisis in Hanover.

“As we are all aware, COVID is on the rise in the parish and we were very concerned as the local board of health, and as such, a meeting was held in which we put together a task force that is going to be led by Deputy Mayor Andria Dehaney-Grant,” said Samuels, who is also chairman of the Hanover Municipal Corporation (HMC).

According to Samuels, who was speaking at the recent monthly meeting of the HMC, the task force has representatives from all major organisations, agencies, and establishments in the parish.

The step taken by the HMC follows closely on the Government’s recent establishment of a national COVID-19 task force, which is led by Gordon Shirley. The other members are: Dunstan Bryan, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Health and Wellness; Dr Jacquiline Bisasor-McKenzie, the nation’s chief medical officer; Dr Sheila Campbell-Forrester; Professor Lloyd Waller of The University of the West Indies; Colonel Markland Lloyd of the Jamaica Defence Force; Peter Melhado, president and chief executive officer of the ICD Group; and Alok Jain, consultant in the Office of the Prime Minister.

As it relates to the Hanover task force, Dehaney-Grant said the group is up and running, having already met to chart the way forward.

“We have had one meeting so far. Our aim is to have that conversation with the various organisations within the parish, and to meet with the various hotels, supermarkets, the Inland Revenue Department, the Ministry of Labour, the National Housing Trust, among others. We want to have that conversation with them to see what protocols they have in place, and to see what we can do to enhance that as well,” he said.

“We are also planning on putting back our town criers with voices from members of the HMC, not just the health department’s message, but the corporation’s own message as it relates to COVID-19 in the parish,” added Dehaney-Grant.

The members of the Hanover task force are: Superintendent Sharon Beeput, the police commander for Hanover; Superintendent Raymond DeSouza, the officer in charge of the Hanover division of the Jamaica Fire Brigade; Tova Trench-Anderson, parish manager for the Social Development Commission in Hanover; Dr Kaushal Singh, medical officer of health for Hanover; Patricia Hall-Patterson, chief public health inspector for Hanover; and David Gardner, chief executive officer of the HMC.

According to information out of the Hanover Health Department, there were some 869 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 among residents of that parish for the month of August. As at September 8, the parish has seen an overall case count of 2,443 positive cases, with approximately 101 deaths to date.