Health and Wellness Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, is calling on operators of care homes to adhere to the established health and safety protocols implemented by the Government to safeguard the welfare of their vulnerable residents and minimise the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Among the safety protocols are increased sanitisation activities, wearing of masks, daily temperature checks, social distancing and the establishment of isolation and quarantine facilities on site, as well as the restriction of visitors to these facilities.
The Minister was addressing members of the media during an inspection of the health and safety protocols at The Golden Age Home, Vineyard Town, St. Andrew on September 28.
With the country now at the phase of community spread of the virus, Dr. Tufton urged care home operators to strictly observe the established protocols, as the impact on these institutions can be potentially devastating.
“I want to encourage similar institutions across the country to strictly observe these protocols. The response to COVID-19 is going to be heavily dependent on the established protocols. It is the protocols that are going to help us manage the risks,” he emphasised.
“The Ministry of Health and Wellness has been working with the Kingston and St. Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC) and the management teams of the respective agencies (to ensure the safety of the residents in the facilities). I am satisfied that those protocols are in place here,” he said.
Mayor of Kingston, Senator Councillor Delroy Williams, who also visited the facility, urged administrators of similar facilities to protect their vulnerable population.
“Most of the persons here are senior citizens, who are regarded as being among the vulnerable population. It is, therefore, incumbent on us to take every care to protect them. We implore the other golden age homes to ensure that all the protocols are in place to protect persons within their facilities,” Mayor Williams said.
General Manager of the Golden Age Home, Zonia Foster Forbes, said since the virus’ arrival in the country, the health and safety protocols have been rigorously enforced with support of the Ministries of Health and Wellness, Local Government and Rural Development, as well as the KSAMC and the Board of Supervision.
“We have been continuously observing the protocols. We have been sending out weekly reminders to members of staff of the safety protocols and we will continue to do that. We know the vulnerability of the group and the community that we are managing and will continue to do that,” she said.
The Golden Age Home is the largest of its kind in Jamaica with more than 400 persons resident at the facility, providing medical and dental services, physiotherapy and psychosocial therapy.