Jamaica reports surge in COVID-19 cases

July 19, 2023  -Jamaica’s Health and Wellness Minister Dr. Christopher Tufton has raised an alarm on a surge in COVID-19 cases in the country.

The matter was discussed during the Post Cabinet Press Briefing held at Jamaica House’s Banquet Hall on Wednesday.

Minister Tufton reported that COVID maintains a trend of growing numbers. He said that he addressed the situation in Parliament just last week, pointing out a monthly average of 100 cases since January.

“I’m told, up to last night, that we’re now seeing 130 [cases],” he added.

Reports are that as of July 15, there were 37 active COVID-19 cases in St Thomas. The parish’s Health Officer, Dr. D’Oyen Smith, affirmed that managing the virus remains a top priority for the health department.

More on COVID-19 and the Caribbean

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  • COVID-19 outbreak reported at Barbados Geriatric Hospital ward
  • St. Lucia closely monitoring emergence of new COVID-19 sub-variants

Mask Mandates: A balance between precaution and necessity

However, the Ministry of Health conveyed that there is no immediate necessity to mandate mask-wearing once again, but it implored high-risk groups to proceed with caution.

Despite the heightened number of confirmed cases, Dr. Christopher Tufton emphasized that there has not been a considerable surge in fatalities.

“The good part of that, of course, is that we’re not seeing any significant increase in deaths, which is the extreme case. Every death is regrettable, of course. But the fact that we’re seeing increases in positivity, it means that it will have an impact on hospitalization and bed occupancy. And the fact that people are in hospital means the probability of people dying will increase. So, we can’t take it lightly,” he said.

Advice for vulnerable groups amid the increase

Dr. Tufton strongly advises the most susceptible individuals to take appropriate actions to stay clear of COVID-19.

Tufton advised those who are vulnerable, in doubt, and are concerned, to see their doctors.

“There are infection prevention and control mechanisms that are standard operating procedures such as mask-wearing, sanitization, avoiding of crowds, particularly if you fall in the vulnerable category [over 65], underlying conditions; cancers, front line workers,” he further advised.

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