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Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr. Jaquiline Bisasor-McKenzie, says the ongoing spike in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in St. Thomas has now pushed the parish figure to 107 cases over the last three weeks, with about 25 communities recording cases.

Dr. Bisasor-McKenzie, while explaining the current situation in the parish where sections of the parish have been under quarantine since August 6, disclosed that two more communities have been placed under quarantine – Albion and Seaforth.

She was speaking on Thursday (August 20), during the weekly digital COVID Conversation press conference, at the Ministry, in Kingston.

“What was happening in St. Thomas has triggered us to look at this threat to the entire parish, because there’s a significant risk of exposure for persons living in the parish, persons who travelled to the parish and persons who traverse the parish, and as such, we have instituted two other quarantine areas,” she pointed out.

“The St. Thomas Health Department was notified of three cases of coronavirus in April 2020, and between April 2020 and July 31, we had no other cases reported. However, since then the parish has had 89 cases, up to over 60 in the space of about 17 days, including one death, and then for the last three days we have had additional cases that have brought us up to 107 cases,” she noted.

The CMO informed that more than 50 per cent of the cases are from the quarantined communities of Church Corner, Bamboo River and Summit.

She said that up to August 16, the number of cases had spread right across the parish, with about 19 communities recording positive cases.

“Since then, between the 16th and the 19th we’ve had 17 additional cases, coming from additional communities and so… we have about 25 communities across the parish that we are seeing cases,” the CMO added.

According to Dr. Bisasor-McKenzie, communities in the western side of the parish, such as Albion, Pamphret, Yallahs and Morant Bay have been affected, likewise the easterly communities, such as Airy Castle, Barking Lodge, Wheelerfield, and Hampton Court.

She shared that Seaforth, Springfield and York, which are in the centre of the parish and are close to the quarantine areas, have also been affected.

The CMO pointed out that the positivity rate for the parish, as at August 16, was 7.8 per cent, while the positivity rate for the quarantined area is 16 per cent.

“I just want to remind the public that overall for the country we have a 2.8 per cent positivity rate. So, these rates are considered to be quite high,” she said.

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