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Starting Friday (September 11), the Ministry of Health and Wellness will provide updates on the number of confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) cases at 10:00 a.m. each day on its website at http://moh.gov.jm and social media platforms.

Portfolio Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, said that the posts will reflect the verified number of persons who tested positive within 24 hours after the previous update.

Dr. Tufton, who was addressing the Ministry’s weekly digital COVID Conversations press briefing on Thursday (September 10), said that the objective is to ensure that members of the public are provided with timely information for sound decision-making as the country reaches the community transmission phase of the pandemic.

He noted that the weekly press briefings will continue, to provide the media “the chance to get behind the numbers while giving the public a better understanding of what they need to do to keep themselves safe while slowing the transmission of the virus”.

“We will also take stock of changing measures put in place to enable COVID coping in the different settings — home, school and workplace. This is in addition to looking at new approaches to testing and the evolving COVID-19 research agenda of the Ministry,” he added.

Dr. Tufton noted that with Jamaica having entered the community transmission phase of COVID-19, resources will have to be shifted to monitoring the spread and characteristics of the virus, identifying and managing severe cases, preventing onward transmission, alleviating strains on healthcare services, informing the public, and reducing overall social and economic impact.

“It is a shift that necessitates a number of operational changes, including the effort to ensure that our health facilities are sufficiently equipped for a surge in the cases while also increasing the complement of the health team,” Dr. Tufton said.

Community transmission means there will be significant increases in the number of COVID-19 cases over the next six to eight weeks and that the virus can no longer be easily traced from one person to the other.

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