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SOME 721 persons have been interviewed and 137 samples collected and sent to the National Public Health Laboratory for testing, as part of COVID-19 surveillance activities conducted in West Kingston last week.

The surveillance activities were conducted last Thursday and Friday, following the recent confirmation of five COVID-19 cases in the community. More than 100 team members, including medical doctors, public health inspectors and public health nurses, were engaged in the effort.

In addition to the sampling and interviews done, the health team also did public education, including the issuing of 361 pamphlets with a range of COVID-19 prevention messages.

The health authorities are now moving to make test results available to the residents who were sampled in the shortest possible time, as part of the ongoing effort to safeguard public health.

Over in Norwood, St. James, community surveillance activities were ongoing up to last evening, with already some 100 samples collected and 35 households assessed. At the end of that effort, the public will also be provided with an update.

Members of the public are encouraged to remain vigilant in the practice of infection prevention and control measures. These include:

  • the wearing of masks while in public or while at home under quarantine with family members;
  • sanitising frequently used surfaces and/or common areas in the home and at work;
  • frequently washing hands with soap and water and/or sanitising hands with an alcohol-based sanitiser; as well as
  • maintaining a six-feet physical distance from others.

“All of these measures are important if we are to limit the amount of people who become exposed and eventually infected,” noted Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr. Jacquiline Bisasor-McKenzie.

“I am aware that for some people, wearing a mask is perhaps not the most comfortable thing. If you cannot tolerate the mask, then you must stay out of crowded situations,” she added.

“The truth is, it can and does take a bit of sacrifice from us all to help to keep ourselves, our families and our friends safe from COVID-19. However, preventing multiple infections, preventing community lockdowns and further restrictions and saving even one life is worth your effort. Let us do what it takes to help as many people as possible remain COVID-19-free,” the CMO said further.

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