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  • Chief Medical Officer in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Dr. Jacquiline Bisasor McKenzie, says some Jamaicans who test positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) will be isolated at home, noting that this is already the case.
  • “In terms of making the assessment of those persons who can be isolated at home, we would have to look at their home situation, whether or not the isolation can be facilitated, what kind of symptoms the person has and what kind of risk factors they have. So all of those things are taken into consideration,” she said.

Chief Medical Officer in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Dr. Jacquiline Bisasor McKenzie, says some Jamaicans who test positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) will be isolated at home, noting that this is already the case.

“In terms of making the assessment of those persons who can be isolated at home, we would have to look at their home situation, whether or not the isolation can be facilitated, what kind of symptoms the person has and what kind of risk factors they have. So all of those things are taken into consideration,” she said.

“Right now, we have one person that is isolated at home who lives by himself, and then we have another set of persons… a family. In making the decision in terms of the isolation of these persons at home, we even had discussions with the community associations,” she noted.

Dr. Bisasor McKenzie was speaking during a virtual meeting of the Special Select Committee of Parliament on COVID-19 on Tuesday (April 7).

She pointed out that while a field hospital is to come on stream shortly to accommodate mildly symptomatic patients, “our priority really has to be that the sicker persons, who really need to be in the hospital, are the ones who are accessing that kind of facility”.

“In the early stages, our recommendation, of course, would have been that everybody that has picked it up (the virus), you put them together somewhere so that we contain the disease as much as possible,” Dr. Bisasor-McKenzie said.

She noted, however, “as we get more and more spread, you are going to find that we are not able to have the very mildly symptomatic ones in the hospital and we are going to have to change. And we are gradually making that change so that we can condition persons to accept that”.

The Chief Medical officer said the Ministry recognises that it will have to do “quite a bit of public sensitisation where this is concerned, because we do have problems with stigma”.

“We have already started with the publication of the pamphlets on what home isolation is about; we [already] have the ones on home quarantine. So we are working on the one about what home isolation is about and the document for sensitisation of the healthcare workers and how we manage home isolation,” Dr. Bisasor McKenzie added.

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