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The Government will provide transportation for persons employed at infirmaries and homes for the aged as part of continued measures to minimise transmission of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

This was disclosed by Local Government and Community Development Minister, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, at a virtual press conference held at Jamaica House on Tuesday (May 26).

“One of the initiatives that we intend to put in place is to increase security at infirmaries. We are going to provide transportation for each infirmary worker to take them from home to work and back. So, we are going to be reducing the contact that these workers have with the general public to protect the population,” he said.

Other infection control protocols remain in effect at these facilities. These include restricted access to infirmaries and golden age homes; and restrictions on the acceptance of new residents to golden age homes and infirmaries across the island.

Additionally, Mr. McKenzie said stringent sanitisation activities continue to be conducted at these facilities.

“A sanitisation programme was undertaken a couple weeks ago and another round has been conducted. The infirmaries have been provided with 150 temporary staff to support its operations, and that programme is still in place,” he said.

Mr. McKenzie noted that isolation units have been established at all infirmaries and staff members are provided with adequate personal protective equipment.

“All our infirmaries have isolation units up and running. That was done over the last couple of weeks. The question has been raised about personal protective gears within infirmaries. All infirmaries have adequate personal protective equipment for workers, and workers have been using those gears accordingly,” the Minister noted.

At present, there are 13 infirmaries and three State-operated golden age homes accommodating more than 3,500 senior citizens. Of these persons, 98 per cent are estimated to be in the risk category for COVID-19.

“The Government is committed to maintaining the structure that has been put in place and we can assure the country that all the steps that are necessary to protect the vulnerable in these institutions have been taken by the Government. We have not dropped the ball on protecting those persons in our infirmaries and golden age homes,” he emphasised.

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