Fri | Aug 7, 2020

Social distancing is working – doctor

Published:Wednesday | May 20, 2020 | 12:12 AMCarl Gilchrist/Gleaner Writer
Outside the Western Union outlet in St Ann’s Bay last week.
Outside the Western Union outlet in St Ann’s Bay last week.

Despite what appears to be a disregard by many Jamaicans of the Ministry of Health and Wellness’s directives to practise social distancing, medical officer of surveillance at the St Ann Health Department, Dr Micas Campbell-Foreman, believes the practice is proving to be effective at limiting the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Her comments come even as persons pay scant regard to this directive in St Ann. During the course of this week, crowds continue to converge on entrances to banks and some other business places in Ocho Rios and at a Western Union outlet in St Ann’s Bay, some even without masks.

“We understand this is a very difficult and trying time for every citizen in the world, as basically every country has been affected,” Dr Campbell-Foreman noted in an interview with The Gleaner.

“Countries have responded in different ways, some better than some, as you can see, and it is my belief that we in Jamaica, bad as the situation is, we have been responding very well. It may not seem so but we are, because it could be worse.

“It might seem like it’s desperate times because quite a bit of us are out of work – the hotels have closed down, businesses are operating at half-mast – but it’s imperative for us to hold the faith and try to be a little more respectful of what the prime minister and minister of health have explained to us. It’s for our own good to maintain that social distancing, because we’ve come a far way and we don’t want it to turn back and have ill effects for us all.”

Despite slowing down in recent days, Jamaica’s COVID-19 total has passed the 500 mark, with nine deaths reported so far. St Ann has confirmed 15 cases of the disease, while six persons have recovered from it.

Campbell-Foreman said that for the figure to remain minimal, persons have to safeguard their elderly relatives, as this is the category where most deaths occur.

“Our parents and our grandparents, they’re the ones who will suffer if we do not abide by these rules. Data all over the world have shown that the persons who are dying are the elderly and the sick ones, and those are the persons we go home to.

She emphasised that persons should take extra precautions upon returning home after going out.

“Before we go inside our house, wash our hands, take off our shoes, and head straight to the bathroom. It’s very important; even before we greet anybody at home; we can get a can of Lysol ... the phone, the handbag, or the wallet, whatever it is, we have to spray it off, wipe it off with alcohol.”

The surgical mask is the mask to wear, Dr Campbell-Foreman pointed out, saying that each mask should not be worn for more than four hours. As such, persons going out should travel with more than one, she noted.