Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr. Jacquiline Bisasor-McKenzie, is reassuring the country’s healthcare workers that the Ministry of Health and Wellness is making every effort to ensure that they have adequate personal protective equipment (PPE).
Speaking at the weekly virtual COVID Conversations press briefing on Thursday (August 27) in Kingston, the CMO expressed empathy with the healthcare workers, who are feeling vulnerable at this time, noting that they are at a higher risk of being exposed to the disease presently, as the number of cases has been increasing and more persons are being hospitalised.
She also noted that many non-coronavirus (COVID-19) patients are also testing positive for the disease when they turn up at the hospital.
In light of this, the CMO said the Ministry is working assiduously to procure more PPE for healthcare workers to better protect themselves.
“We understand that you need to have these personal protective equipment. We are operating in the face of global shortages and our procurement teams are on the job every single day trying to ensure that every week we get in supplies,” she said.
“We are asking that persons ensure that they use the personal protective equipment that is available consistently and that they consider that every possible patient could be COVID-infected. We also have to consider the possibility that our colleagues may also be infected and, therefore, we must also be consistent in the use of the personal protective equipment when we relate to one another,” Dr. Bisasor-McKenzie said.
She acknowledged that it is a very difficult time for healthcare workers because of the challenges they face within their own communities and families as to how to prevent exposure while working in an environment where they are highly exposed to the virus.
“The proper use of personal protective equipment can reduce that risk. Again, I just want to reinforce that we are making every effort to ensure that we have those personal protective equipment in place,” the CMO said.