Officials within Jamaica’s Ministry of Health are working to contain the spread of COVID-19 at the Corporate Area-based Bellevue Hospital following the recent discovery of a cluster of cases at the institution.
According to a statement from the ministry, up to the weekend, 21 of 29 patients tested and two of 23 staff members tested had returned positive results for the virus.
The ministry says the public health team has since gone into the psychiatric institution where a range of infection prevention and control measures are now in place.
The measures include the separation of patients who have tested positive from those who have tested negative; testing on wards that share a common area with the ward on which the cluster of cases was detected; symptomatic surveillance of all other wards, with the testing of all symptomatic persons; and the restriction of interaction among staff and patients from different wards.
The ministry also noted that staff members are being trained in infection prevention and control, including cleaning and sanitization, while doctors are to be trained to swab persons to support the testing efforts.
The wearing of masks is mandatory while the ward to which the cases are now confined will accept no new admissions.
Chief Medical Officer Dr Jacquiline Bisasor-McKenzie said “as we near the holidays, we are, as forecast, seeing an increase in our COVID-19 numbers. I cannot over-emphasize the need for members of the public, in and outside our various institutions, to be vigilant in the practice of infection prevention and control measures.”
“COVID-19 is a threat to all of us, but there is much that we can do to protect ourselves. We can all wear our masks, keep our physical distance from others, frequently wash our hands, and clean and sanitize our common areas. Those measures will help to keep us safe,” the CMO added.