Sun | Dec 3, 2023

COVID-19 cases sliced by half in St James

Published:Saturday | May 8, 2021 | 12:07 AMChristopher Thomas/Gleaner Writer


While St James’ 4,415 is the highest number of COVID-19 cases among the western parishes, the parish’s health department says that based on the most recent monthly reported cases, April’s figure is 50 per cent lower than the February figures.

Lennox Wallace, the parish manager for the St James Health Department, told The Gleaner on Thursday that St James recorded 201 positive COVID-19 cases in April compared to 511 in February and 372 in March.

“In February, there were 511 cases and then in March, there were 372, a reduction of 139 cases. For April, 324 samples were tested and 201 of those were positive,” said Wallace. “With April having ended, we have seen a reduction in COVID-19 cases by nearly 50 per cent compared to February.”

Wallace attributed the reduction to the success of the health department’s ongoing COVID-19 education campaign and vaccination-promotion drive, which currently spans the entire parish to include rural communities such as Maroon Town and John’s Hall.

“What we have done is to move from the various points in the town of Montego Bay and to take the campaign to the rural areas. We have been in Maroon Town and Mt Carey, we were in John’s Hall last week, and we are taking it right over St James…. to persons who are not easily accessible and who might not have any business in town, where the major vaccination centres are,” said Wallace.

“We are now preparing a platform to go back into the communities via Zoom, to meet with the churches and meet the rest of the communities through the citizens’ associations, so as to educate them about the take-up for the second dose of the vaccine for those who have taken it already. We are also encouraging those persons who have not gotten vaccinated as yet, to come and take it,” added Wallace.

The reduction in positive COVID-19 cases is welcome news for St James, which is currently the parish with the third-highest numbers out of Jamaica’s total of 46,338 confirmed cases. St James follows behind Kingston and St Andrew, where 13,120 positive cases have been recorded to date, and St Catherine, which has 9,101 cases.

St James’ 4,415 COVID-19 case count puts them significantly higher than Westmoreland’s 1,931, Trelawny’s 1,596, and Hanover’s 1,238 cases, the parishes under the umbrella of the Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA).

Dr Delroy Fray, the clinical coordinator at the WRHA, recently announced that the number of in-house COVID-19 patients at the Cornwall Regional Hospital had gone down to 18, paving the way for elective surgeries to resume at the Mt Salem, St James-based Type-A hospital.