JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA) has activated its Emergency Operation Centres (EOC) in response to the novel coronavirus (Covid-19).
  • She was speaking at a meeting with business stakeholders in Western Jamaica at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in James on Friday (March 13).
  • She informed that non-emergency services are being reduced at hospitals to create additional capacity to deal with Covid-19.

The Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA) has activated its Emergency Operation Centres (EOC) in response to the novel coronavirus (Covid-19).

Regional Technical Director, Dr. Dianne Campbell-Stennett, said the EOCs will allow for a coordinated response at the parish level “to ensure that we are efficiently and effectively responding.”

She noted that  protocols have been established at public health facilities in St. James, Hanover, Westmoreland and Trelawny, which are the four parishes managed by the WRHA.

“We started very early so they (EOCs) would have been running 24 hours a day to monitor and coordinate all the activities that are happening,” Dr. Campbell-Stennett said.

She was speaking at a meeting with business stakeholders in Western Jamaica at the Montego Bay Convention Centre in James on Friday (March 13).

In terms of prevention and containment, Dr. Campbell-Stennett noted that the Authority has been raising public awareness through sensitisation sessions and simulation exercises at workplaces.

“We have gone in and have spoken with our hotel nurses and some of the staff and we have been doing a lot of simulation exercises, so that staff can work together as a team to ensure that we implement what it is that we have learnt,” she said.

She said that more than 21, 000 informational materials have been distributed and  “we have also been doing education in the general public, going into schools, communities, churches and we have also been looking at disease surveillance.”

In addition, more than  560 public health care workers and 90 private practitioners have been trained on how to handle suspected cases of Covid-19.

“In just the last two weeks, we have gone to medical service providers in the hotels, Hospiten and we also support the Medical Officers of Health and the medical epidemiologist in the regional office,” Dr. Campbell-Stennett said.

Meanwhile, the Regional Technical Director said an audit of hospital supplies, pharmaceuticals and equipment have been conducted, which shows that there is adequate stock to deal with the virus, while additional items are being procured.

In addition, she said that isolation facilities have been identified and are being retrofitted to house at least 50 beds.

She informed that non-emergency services are being reduced at hospitals to create additional capacity to deal with Covid-19.

“We do have operational changes that we have to implement so that we can scale up and respond. So we have protocols in place so that we can identify patients that we can discharge early and plan for their follow up outside and we also look at how we manage …outpatient services,” she said.

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