Based on the assessment of the technical team in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, and after consultation with the technical team at the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), the Government has now declared community transmission of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Jamaica.
Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, says this was declared on Wednesday, September 2.
Dr. Tufton gave this update during a digital COVID Conversations Press Briefing on Friday (September 4), in New Kingston.
“This change in the phase of the pandemic may mean that over the next six to eight weeks, the population may see a steep rise in the number of cases reported,” the Minister said.
“Community transmission means the inability to relate confirmed cases through chains of transmission for a large number of cases, and the increasing positive tests through sentinel samples, especially from persons coming to health centres and hospitals,” Dr. Tufton said.
In making this declaration, Dr. Tufton alerted the public that the transmission of the virus can no longer be easily traced from one member of the population to the other and that the concern for the transmission for COVID-19 is now islandwide.
“While the majority of persons will not have symptoms that will require them to visit a doctor or be hospitalised, more persons are expected to seek medical attention in private and public facilities,” he pointed out.
“This stage of the pandemic will also mean that we will need to strengthen the Infection Prevention and Control measures to reduce the rate of spread within the population and, more importantly, protect the vulnerable,” the Minister added.
Dr. Tufton said given these prerequisites, the health team has already begun to re-examine the protocols already in place and will issue new protocols to better guide the public in how we operate within the context of the new phase.