Thu | Feb 25, 2021

Jamaica in unprecedented times regarding COVID - Tufton

Published:Monday | February 22, 2021 | 7:31 PM
Tufton said more facilities will be converted into COVID-19 wards, which would mean that some services will become unavailable. (file photo)

Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton is once again urging the public to follow the protocols outlined by the government to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

In a Gleaner article today, it was revealed that key hospitals in the coronavirus fight have either exceeded their COVID-19 bed space or are on the brink of turning away the sick.

The St James-based Cornwall Regional Hospital, the ailing Type A facility serving western Jamaica, is at 100 per cent, and the Noel Holmes Hospital in Hanover is at 95 per cent, revealed Errol Greene, head of the Western Regional Health Authority. Cornwall Regional has 339 beds overall, with 41 allotted for COVID-19 cases.

READ: BEDS ON BRINK - COVID crisis escalates as moderate, critical cases near 100

In a series of tweets a short while ago, Tufton stated that health care workers are overwhelmed and fatigued.

"The reality is that we are in unprecedented times," he said.

He added that more facilities will be converted into COVID-19 wards, which would mean that some services will become unavailable.

"As it is now, please note if you need to visit a hospital, please bear in mind that: no patient will be turned away, their vitals will be checked, and the severity of their condition assessed. If their condition is mild, they may be referred to another hospital."

He continued: "Beds are likely to be reserved for moderate to critically ill patients. Persons can expect longer wait times as staff are stretched, and beds are few."

Tufton emphasised that the Health Ministry will be recruiting more staff to aid in these operations.

"Jamaicans, it simply cannot be business as usual, you must follow the protocols outlined and communicated constantly by the government or risk losing your life...if you continue to not wear your mask, not distance, not sanitise then these solutions won’t last long," Tufton stressed.

On Sunday, Jamaica recorded 297 cases of coronavirus, pushing the tally to 21,679.

8,083 of those cases are active.

Follow The Gleaner on Twitter and Instagram @JamaicaGleaner and on Facebook @GleanerJamaica. Send us a message on WhatsApp at 1-876-499-0169 or email us at onlinefeedback@gleanerjm.com or editors@gleanerjm.com.