Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, says testing has found no evidence of the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus in Jamaica.
Dr. Tufton made the disclosure in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (July 13).
He was responding to questions posed by Opposition Spokesperson on Health, Dr. Morais Guy.
The Ministry has arranged for the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) to test samples for any mutations that would pose a concern.
“On [Monday) we reported to Cabinet on tests that we got back late last week. We had three locations that we sent samples to and we had committed that each week we would send out 100 or so samples at one of the three locations for testing, to carry out the surveillance as to whether the Delta variant is here,” Dr. Tufton said.
“Results we got last week, we did not find the Delta strain in those results. I think we got back about 60 or so results, but each week we will continue to report based on those results,” he added.
Meanwhile, Dr. Tufton said there is a worrying trend of Jamaicans seeking medical help too late for COVID-19, resulting in increased deaths.
“We are seeing persons who have symptoms and who try to self-medicate and to find their own solutions for one reason or the other and end up at the hospital when they are in an advanced state of illness, and that is unwise. I think that has also contributed to the severity of the cases in hospitals, and by extension the ultimate consequence of death,” he noted.
The Minister further encouraged Jamaicans that “if you are unclear of your condition, seek medical attention, get tested, the system allows for that”.