Speech

Yesterday, we had 48 positive cases out of 1,172 samples tested which is a test positivity rate of 4.1%. The public sector test positivity rate which is based on the more reliable PCR tests was however 7.7%.

Madam Speaker, based on the latest report from this morning, our cumulative cases of COVID-19 are now 46,087 with 21,646 having recovered. Our recovery rate is therefore now 47%.

Unfortunately, three persons died yesterday bringing to 793 the total number of persons we have lost to the pandemic to date. I extend my deepest sympathies to all Jamaicans who have lost loved ones to this terrible pandemic.

On the graph displayed, the blue bars represent the daily number of new confirmed cases of COVID-19. The red line represents the 7-day moving average of new cases. And the yellow line represents the 7-day moving average of new hospitalisations. [see full document for graph)

Madam Speaker, both lines are trending downwards with the number of new cases declining faster than new hospitalisations as there is usually a lag between onset of symptoms and hospitalisations.

This demonstrates that the measures implemented since the end of February have been effective in slowing down the spread of the virus.

Madam Speaker, the graph now displayed shows that our Reproductive rate (Ro) has been declining since we implemented the tighter measures a few weeks ago. Our Ro is now below 1. [see full document graph]

Madam Speaker, the graph that is now displayed shows our hospitalisations relative to our bed capacity. The white line shows the number of persons in hospital and the black line shows our hospital bed capacity. [see full document graph]

Madam Speaker, the data clearly shows that the tighter measures that were implemented since the last week of February 2021 have been successful in slowing down the spread of the virus. While our hospitalisations are now below our capacity, we are not yet out of the danger zone and need to see a further decline.

In order to bring the spike fully under control, it is critical that we maintain our Ro at below 1 for at least three (3) incubation cycles, that is 6 weeks.

Madam Speaker, while our numbers are heading in the right direction, we have seen from the experience of other countries the importance of maintaining vigilance and caution in order to avoid a third wave.

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