Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, says that a series of new protocols to govern the community transmission phase of the coronavirus (COVID-19) will be unveiled over the next week.
Dr.Tufton had announced last Friday (September 4) that the country had reached community transmission, which means that 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.
Speaking at a virtual press briefing from the Office of the Prime Minister Media Centre on Monday (September 7), Dr. Tufton said that “this phase comes with… an adjustment in the approach towards testing and the protocols around the workplace. What we are doing now is we are actively engaged in assessing and laying that out and will make that public to the country”.
The Minister said that a communication programme will be implemented to explain what community transmission means and the role of all stakeholders in combatting further spread of the virus.
As it relates to testing, Minister Tufton, noted that there will be a more strategic approach in terms of who gets tested.
“Right now what we are finding is that everyone with a sniffle or heard that they had a passing acquaintance with someone who has tested positive… meaning that they were in the same building, not the same room, wants a COVID test. Frankly speaking, we are going to have to be more calculated, more strategic and deliberate in the approach,” he pointed out.
The Minister said it is important for Jamaicans to understand that the concept of community transmission means that cases are going to “pop up any and everywhere at any time”.
“It’s a phase that we are going to have to go through; we anticipated it, we predicted it and we are there now. We did well to delay it and prepare for it; that is why we bought the ventilators and the beds and so on, but it is here now and the country has to come to terms with dealing with that,” he noted.