The Church Corner community in St Thomas has now been placed under quarantine for the next 14 days, following an outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-2019) in the parish, which has, so far, seen 28 persons testing positive in the last four days, including 13 from the area under quarantine.
“That led the authorities to go into the parish and do more direct and targeted surveillance across the parish, but the particular area under quarantine, in their estimation, has been viewed as an area that required a lot more and an in-depth examination based on what was discovered,” Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon Christopher Tufton, said.
The decision to place the community in St. Thomas under quarantine follows closely on the heels of the Sandy Bay community in Clarendon being placed under quarantine earlier on Thursday (August 6), for a similar two weeks.
Speaking at a virtual press briefing on August 6, at the Office of the Prime Minister Media Centre in Kingston, Dr. Tufton pointed out that 10 of the 30 new cases that were detected in the last 24 hours are from Church Corner.
“We saw an uptick in cases in the parish of St. Thomas, starting from the 31st of July. The team had been in that area working very hard, and a particular case led to the discovery of five cases, which were confirmed a few days after, then nine additional cases, and 13 in total coming from the area that we have taken a decision to quarantine,” he explained.
The origins of the cases, he said, highlights the need for more vigilance.
“It only takes one infected person to create the challenges that we face at the community level. In the case of St. Thomas, it was an individual who originated from St. Catherine, had symptoms and went into the parish to visit friends and families. That person went to church, based on the contact-tracing information, was prayed for by the congregation, based on the particular illness, and that led to a case of members of the congregation, friends and relatives who were visited being infected by the virus,” Dr. Tufton pointed out.
The Minister is appealing to persons who have symptoms to report it to their doctors, health centres and the authorities or to visit the hospitals.
“That is the way we can determine at this time whether or not you need particular attention and whether you represent a risk. Don’t take chances, don’t resort to home remedies and while we certainly encourage you to pray and give God thanks and ask for guidance, it is also important for you to visit your doctor and get the medical or clinical advice on the particular situation,” he added.
Dr. Tufton pointed out that the quarantine area in St. Thomas will start at the intersection of the Morant River and the Bustamante Bridge and will continue in a north-easterly direction along the Rozelle to Morant Bay Road to the roundabout, and then continue along the perimeter of the Red Hills Cemetery to the intersection with Summit Boulevard and then easterly to where Stony Gut Avenue and Paul Place intersect. The boundary will continue south-easterly for approximately 0.2 kilometre to the intersection of Summit Road and Summit Grove and then due east for approximately 0.3 kilometre to where it meets the river.
The Minister said the boundary will continue in a southerly direction along the river to where it meets the coast, and then continue in a south-westerly direction along the coast to where it intersects with the Morant River.
It will then continue in a north-westerly direction from the coast along the Morant River to its intersection with the Bustamante Bridge.
In the meantime, the Health Minister is reassuring the country that the Ministry and the Government are prepared to deal with the outbreaks that will likely be ‘popping up’ across the island.