Regional Technical Director at the Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA), Dr. Diane Campbell-Stennett, says the agency has increased its cadre of healthcare workers in the region to aid in the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Campbell-Stennett was addressing a Ministry of Health and Wellness Digital COVID-19 Conversations, which was held at the S Hotel in Montego Bay, St. James, on October 8.
“We increased our staff this year in anticipation of the surge, so under the Jamaica Cuba Bilateral agreement, we added 61 nurses to our cadre and 30 medical doctors, and with additional resource allocations we had an additional 27 medical doctors and 219 community health aids,” she outlined.
Meanwhile, Dr. Campbell-Stennett noted that as at October 6, some 70 per cent of the COVID-19 positive cases in the region have recovered.
She highlighted that Hanover, which has the least number of active cases in the region, has very little clustering of active cases of the virus.
“The cases are distributed across Hopewell, Sandy Bay and some in Green Island, so it is really across the parish and we are not really seeing as much clustering,” she said.
For Trelawny and Westmoreland, Dr. Campbell-Stennett noted that those parishes also have a wide geographic distribution of cases and minimal clustering.
However, she noted that in St. James, there is a high number of cases in some communities across the parish, such as Salt Spring, Green Pond, Bogue and Glendevon.
She further informed that as part of COVID-19-prevention activities, the WRHA is focused on community mobilisation to manage cases and protect high-risk groups from contracting the virus.
“We have to manage our beds and cases in the hospitals; we have to protect our high-risk groups, especially our healthcare workers, our seniors in infirmaries and our nursing homes [as well as] our children in day care. We have to enhance our [community] surveillance to monitor and inform the response, and we have to focus on infection control at our facilities,” Dr. Campbell-Stennett argued.
She added that workplaces are also being sensitised about the virus as part of the organisation’s COVID-19-prevention activities.
During the virtual event, Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, led a discussion on mental health, the latest Order and tourism protocols.