Tue | Jan 26, 2021

Hanover Health Department expands its COVID focus

Published:Friday | November 27, 2020 | 12:21 AMBryan Miller/Gleaner Writer

WESTERN BUREAU:

With the Hanover Health Department (HHD) now shifting its focus to match the community spread phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Haughton Grove section of Lucea in the community is now under special scrutiny. Within recent weeks, the HHD has been targeting several communities across the parish.

With some residents seemingly displaying a nonchalant attitude towards the deadly virus, the HHD has been increasing its vigilance in several communities to include Hopewell, Sandy Bay, and Dias, which, at different times, have emerged as areas of concern with regard to the spread of the virus.

Dr Kausal Singh, the medical officer of health (MOH) for the western parish, told The Gleaner recently that whenever five or more positive tests are returned in any area, those areas become places of concern for health officials. He added that health officials would target the areas for contact tracing, increased testing, public-education programmes and other initiatives.

Singh expressed concerns about the steady increase in the number of positive cases that have been popping up across the parish, saying that the upward trend is something about which all residents should be concerned.

Hanover had the enviable distinction of being the last of the nation’s 14 parishes to register a positive case of COVID-19. Today, it remains the parish with the lowest number of positive cases on record. Statistics released on Wednesday showed that the parish, which has had 215 positive cases to date, has 49 active cases at this time.

Singh is blaming the steady rise in COVID-19 cases on a lack of understanding of the seriousness of the disease, complacency among the residents, residents travelling daily to other parishes to work, and the staging of illegal parties and other social gatherings.

FREE TESTING

“If we look at our positive population (persons with positive COVID tests) they have their workplaces in different parishes … . It means that if they (the working people) are working out in different areas, they will have to take similar precautions as they take at home,” said Singh.

“What we are going to do now, we are doing some testing at the Lucea Transport Centre. That is a place that anybody can come and get tested,” continued Singh. “That will give us a general picture – if the people will come and do the test.”

Singh believes that if the testing programme goes well, the HHD will be able to stay on top of the situation as it relates to containing the spread in communities across the parish.

“Basically, we are seeking actively to test people. We are doing free testing every weekday at the five health centres across the parish. On Sundays, free testing will be done at the Lucea Transportation Centre.

Singh pointed out that the return time for the test results is now 48 to 72 hours, which he describes as being remarkable. He also noted that testing can also be done by appointments if persons are pressed for time.