To control the spread of both coronavirus (COVID-19) and dengue in the community of Whitfield Town in Kingston, which is now under special curfew arrangements, the Ministry of Health and Wellness has joined health-aid team members in the community intervention.
Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, gave the media this update during his tour of the community on October 14.
“The last thing we want as public health or the country is to have a dengue outbreak with COVID-19. It would mean persons requiring hospital care, and greater demand on the system already burdened and stressed out. You don’t want to have dengue and COVID-19 at the same time, because that would really be a disaster,” Dr. Tufton said.
“We have taken an approach to join these exercises between COVID-19 response and the dengue response, so the vector-control team is also in the area, because if we’re going to have persons [working] in the area, we may as well look at the state of dengue or the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, and now is the season for that,” he added.
Dr. Tufton noted that every time it rains or [there is a] drought and the [residents] truck water in and store it in containers, there is going to be an increase in the mosquito population.
The Minister implored the residents to help in preventing the spread of both COVID-19 and dengue by being personally responsible.
“Dengue is endemic to Jamaica, and the Aedes aegypti mosquito. We will always have them around and they will always represent a risk, and during this time, that risk is that much greater because of COVID-19. So, I say to citizens again and to Jamaica, do what you can to destroy breeding sites, working with the vector-control workers and the COVID community health aides, and the Public Health team, so that we can really take care of what is happening,” he said.
On October 6, Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, announced during the sitting of the House of Representatives, that Whitfield Town had 21 active cases of COVID-19.
This called for the community to now have longer hours of curfew, reduced gathering limits and strict enforcement of all protocols.
The curfew in the area began at 6:00 p.m. on October 6 to 5:00 a.m. the following day, each day, ending at 5:00 a.m. on October 20, 2020.