Medical Officer of Health for Westmoreland, Dr. Marcia Graham, is encouraging residents to continue protecting themselves from the coronavirus (COVID-19), even as the phased reopening of the island’s economy continues.
Dr. Graham was addressing the monthly meeting of the Westmoreland Municipal Corporation on Thursday (July 9).
She pointed out that if persons are not compliant with the rules that are set to prevent the spread of the virus, it could lead to a lockdown of affected communities.
“We do not want to go there as a country, but if we do not remain alert and vigilant and get full cooperation, we might end up there,” Dr. Graham emphasised.
“We want to keep the economy open, but we cannot do so if there is going to be the spreading of disease and possible death among the population, so we need full compliance,” she added.
Dr. Graham said that in comparison to other countries that are being ravaged by the virus, “as a small island nation we are not doing too badly [in containing the COVID-19 spread], but we need to maintain our vigilance if we are going to continue to reap the successes of all the hard work that has been done”.
She noted that the Ministry of Health and Wellness has a very dedicated team that has been working relentlessly to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“We really are satisfied with what we have been able to achieve, but we are at risk of losing it all, because some persons are getting weary, and some persons are getting complacent,” Dr. Graham said.
She lamented that the improper wearing of masks persists, despite the virus still being on the island.
“The masks have migrated north to above the forehead or they have migrated south to under the chin. We have to remember the basics [of mask wearing],” she said.
Dr. Graham advised that persons must wash their hands before putting on their masks, as putting on a clean mask with dirty hands “defeats the purpose”.
She added that persons must also ensure that the masks cover their mouth and nose, and that they wash their hands after removing the masks.
Meanwhile, Dr. Graham said she is pleased with the schools in the parish, as they have made an effort to be COVID-19-compliant.
“I see handwashing stations [at the schools], and I see the temperature checking. That is excellent,” she added.
The island currently has 751 confirmed (COVID-19) cases, with Westmoreland having 18 confirmed cases.