JIS News

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  • The Ministry of Health and Wellness is expressing concern that the n-coronavirus (COVID-19) positivity rate in Jamaica has been increasing over recent weeks.
  • The positivity rate refers to the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases from samples tested.
  • Portfolio Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, said that recently there has been an uptick in the daily positivity rate, noting that up to Wednesday (July 21) it stood at 13.8 per cent with a seven-day average of 9.8 per cent.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness is expressing concern that the n-coronavirus (COVID-19) positivity rate in Jamaica has been increasing over recent weeks.

The positivity rate refers to the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases from samples tested.

Portfolio Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, said that recently there has been an uptick in the daily positivity rate, noting that up to Wednesday (July 21) it stood at 13.8 per cent with a seven-day average of 9.8 per cent.

“From a benchmarking contextual level, you really want that rate to be five per cent or less. The fact that it is moving up is a cause for concern,” he said while addressing a virtual COVID Conversations press briefing on Thursday (July 22).

He further pointed out that 259 or 33 per cent of 783 communities have COVID-19 cases, “so a third of our communities have the existing COVID cases based on our surveillance, and this links to dates of onset in the last two weeks”.

Dr. Tufton noted, as well, that hospitalisations in relation to COVID-19 also show an uptick in the last seven days: “We have gone from 199 daily hospitalisations to 251.

“Frankly speaking… this is not good for the country as it relates to COVID. This is not the direction that we want to head in,” he stressed.

He pointed out that Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, in Parliament on Tuesday (July 20), had informed that there will be a review and an assessment based on the data that is provided.

“The subcommittee of Cabinet [that deals with COVID-19 issues] will meet this weekend on Saturday… . In the new week, we will inform the country as to where we are, what we think will happen going forward, [and] the decisions that need to be taken to protect and to guide the population”.

In the meantime, National Epidemiologist, Dr. Karen Webster Kerr, said the number of COVID-19 cases had started to decrease in March and had plateaued earlier this month, but has been increasing recently.

She pointed out that in the last two weeks, parishes with the highest number of COVID-19 cases include Kingston and St. Andrew, St. Catherine and Westmoreland, with Hanover and Westmoreland having the highest rates in terms of cases per 100,000.

“On the ground, we are observing that persons are not following protocols – they are not wearing masks, not being physically distant and they are holding more events. They are holding more home events, especially funeral services [which] are being held in the homes because they feel the churches are too strict; they are holding events in remote areas to avoid scrutiny,” Dr. Webster Kerr said.

The country has now recorded 51,542 COVID-19 cases and there have been 1,167 deaths linked to the virus.

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