Jamaica COVID-19 Cases Reach Plateau Says Chief Medical Officer

Jamaica CMO
Jamaica’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Jacquiline Bisasor-McKenzie

Jamaica Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Jacquiline Bisasor McKenzie, says the country’s recent coronavirus (COVID-19) numbers suggest that there is a plateauing in the cases of new infections.

“The eighth of March we saw what looked like a peak. It is too early to say really that we are going down in terms of the number of cases; what it appears is that we may have reached a plateau,” she said during a recent virtual press conference.

She said that the present situation may be similar to what happened last August, when there was a peak, followed by a plateauing of case numbers for about four to six weeks.

“So right now, it may be similar, we can’t tell. With the increased restrictions, we are hoping that we will shorten that period but certainly, we don’t think that there is a downward trend yet, but possibly, a plateauing in the number of cases,” she emphasised.

Bisasor McKenzie said that over the last two weeks, a total of 4, 915 cases were confirmed when compared to over 6, 000 in the preceding two weeks, representing a “small fall” in the number of cases.

She noted, however, that hospitalisations and bed occupancy are still high.

“We are now at capacity where we have approximately 600 beds that are dedicated COVID beds. We have gone over that … our numbers in terms of actual persons on beds are more in the region of about 700,” she said.

The Chief Medical Officer said that the country may continue to see the same number of cases being reported over the next couple of weeks, if persons do not adhere to the restrictions.

“If we are at a (virus) reproductive rate of one now and we are reporting 306 cases and an approximately 30 per cent positivity rate, what it means is that if our reproductive rate remains at one, then we will probably see the same number of cases being reported for the next couple of days maybe going into the next couple of weeks,” she said.

“If it is that we can bring down our reproductive rate to 0.9 or 0.8 in a short time, then we would be expecting to see a decrease in the positivity rate and a decrease in the overall number of persons being positive and admitted to hospital on a daily basis,” she added.

The CMO urged Jamaicans to adhere to the guidelines that have been implemented particularly for the Easter holiday period.

She warned that similar to past holiday weekends, Easter could be a turning point in the wrong direction in the island’s COVID-19 management.

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