Manchester stakeholders: Stricter measures needed for COVID protocol delinquents
With 285 COVID-19 positive cases recorded in Manchester as at September 29, stakeholders in the parish are calling for stricter measures to be implemented, as several persons continue to flout the directives of health officials.
During a virtual meeting with Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton, parish health officials and civic leaders on Tuesday, custos of the parish, Garfield Green, said the large crowd gathering at businesses places, particularly financial institutions and the tax office, is unacceptable.
He said while the tax office has been doing well to manage crowd movement inside, special attention is not being paid to managing the crowding outside.
“I would want to see us enforcing crowd management at business places, mainly at the banks and tax offices. I am also concerned about business places not making provisions for the wet weather by providing shelter for those who have to wait on the outside,” Green added.
According to president of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce, Kenisha Dwyer-Powell, several businesses have made the effort to ensure customers are masked and sanitised. However, the measures are often not followed by workers.
She also stated that the issue of crowd management at the Mandeville Regional Hospital needs to be reflective of the messages the health ministry is sending.
Meanwhile, Tufton said it is important that community leaders become key strategists in protocol enforcement and infection control and prevention. He said it is no longer necessary for establishments to shut down once there is a positive case, as enforced infection control measures can prevent the spread.
“Nobody should come into your business without a mask. Someone should be there to monitor the door, temperature check, hand-wash station, more frequent cleaning. At supermarkets, the cashing area must be cleaned multiple times for the day, the trolleys must be cleaned multiple times and workers should have their sanitisers.”
MASK-WEARING ISSUE IS REAL
He said the issue of mask-wearing is real, and laws will soon be strengthened to ensure adherence.
Tufton and health officials distributed masks in the town centre and toured the BPO operation, Sutherland Global, in Kingsland, Manchester, as part of islandwide efforts to ensure COVID protocols are being implemented and adhered to among the workforce.
With approximately 250 workers and a high probability of transmission if one worker tests positive and effective measures are not in place, the BPO centre was given the tick of approval by the health officials.
According to Medical Officer of Health Dr Nadine Williams, there are seven BPOs in the parish. However, only five have been compliant with measures needed to remain functional during the pandemic.
Tufton stated that while health officials will continue to work with these non-compliant entities, the ministry will not be slow in implementing drastic measures for those who are uncooperative.
Dr Williams revealed that there are now 32 active cases of coronavirus in the parish, 11 recorded deaths, one critically ill patient, 19 persons in hospital isolation and 610 persons in home quarantine.
She said those in home quarantine are persons who would have travelled to the island from overseas and those who are asymptomatic.