Fri | Dec 4, 2020

Tufton urges cooperation to reduce spread of COVID

Published:Saturday | October 31, 2020 | 12:13 AMChristopher Thomas/Gleaner Writer
Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton (right) hands out packets of face-masks to a resident of Cornwall Courts in St James during a walk-through of the community on Friday. Cornwall Courts has been under a special curfew since October 23, following an inc
Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton (right) hands out packets of face-masks to a resident of Cornwall Courts in St James during a walk-through of the community on Friday. Cornwall Courts has been under a special curfew since October 23, following an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in the area.

WESTERN BUREAU:

Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton is urging the residents of Cornwall Courts in St James, which is under a special curfew owing to an increase in COVID-19 cases in that community, to work with the local health authorities to prevent further spread of the respiratory illness.

Tufton made the call yesterday while addressing taxi operators and other residents of the community, where 14 positive COVID cases have been confirmed from 92 samples which were recently taken from residents. He was speaking to them prior to a tour of the area, where 56 cases were previously identified.

“We have had 56 cases in the area, with 31 recoveries, 24 active cases and one death. Now the concern we have is that we have collected samples from 92 residents, and what is most concerning to me is that of the 92 samples that were collected, 14 are positive, and that is close to a 20 per cent positivity rate,” Tufton said.

“We have to work together as a community and as a team, and everybody has to play his part because the truth is that this is just an indication of what is on the ground. Right now it is important that we recognise there is a risk in the community as there is in Jamaica, and you are special because you are getting more than your fair share of public health members who are in the community to carry out the response,” added Tufton.

During the tour, the minister addressed reports that health workers have had difficulty reaching out to Cornwall Courts residents for COVID-19 education and testing because many residents work outside of the community.

“The community is a community where most persons work in the days and then they come home in the evenings, and then with the curfew in the evenings, it makes things more difficult,” said Tufton. “A lot of the execution will take place on the weekend, which is why they (health authorities) are bringing in 70 or 80 persons on Saturday, and I believe they will do some work Sunday with three testing sites.”

Jamaica has recorded 9,005 positive COVID cases to date, with St James having 867 of those cases. This marks the parish as having the third-highest number of local COVID cases, behind Kingston and St Andrew’s 3,179 cases and St Catherine’s 1,996 cases.

During a Zoom press conference on Thursday evening, the Ministry of Health & Wellness revealed that six St James communities – Barrett Town, Lilliput, Salt Spring, Norwood, Mt Salem, and Glendevon – were among Jamaica’s top 20 communities with active COVID cases between October 14 and 28.