Jamaica has confirmed 22 cases of the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and promised to keep the population updated on the situation.
“We have received 40 results from the 60 samples sent to the (Trinidad0based) Caribbean Public Health Agency. Twenty-two are positive for the Delta Variant,” said Health and Wellness Minister, Dr Christopher Tufton said in a statement.
He said the epidemiology and laboratory teams are now doing further analysis to see if there is any particular significant factor related to the 22 identified, adding “the public will be kept updated”.
The confirmation of the presence of the variant comes as Jamaica recorded 289 new COVID-19 infectious and confirmed 19 deaths in the last 24 hours.
The total number of infections now moves to 59,377 since the first case was confirmed last year while the total number of deaths stands at 1,339.
The Ministry of Health and Wellness said that hospitals across the country have exceeded their COVID-19 bed capacity while exhausted healthcare workers urge members of the public to stay vigilant in their practice of infection prevention and control measures, notably, mask wearing, maintaining physical distancing from others and frequently washing and/or sanitizing hands.
“It has never been more important for our people, including those 12 years and older, to get vaccinated,” Tufton said.
The ministry also announced that the Jamaica will on Thursday receive its first shipment of the Pfizer vaccine from the United States for which children and teens will be prioritized for vaccination.
The donation will be delivered in three shipments over three months, with an initial 204,000 doses to make up the first shipment,.
“The Pfizer vaccine has been proven safe and is approved for use in children and adolescents. I urge the public’s support for our efforts, as we prioritize their vaccination in the coming days,” said Tufton.