For the second straight day, Jamaica has recorded a record-high number of COVID-19 cases.
On Sunday, the ministry of health and wellness reported that the island had seen 723 new COVID-19 cases over the last 24 hours, an almost 200 increase over the previous day’s record of 527.
There were also seven additional confirmed deaths from the disease, taking the total to 453.
The Corporate Area had by far the largest number of new infections, with 265. The adjoining parish of St. Catherine saw an increase of 141 cases. The island’s positivity rate for Sunday was 35.9%.
The island’s Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. Christopher Tufton said that the current spike in COVID-19 cases has resulted in a public health crisis, with hospitals struggling to provide care to those who need it.
“The truth is that as I have said in the early stages, one has to expect a negative impact of the increases on the public health system. The negative impact means longer waits, service quality that could be affected because of equipment overcapacity, personnel fatigue and so the system will be under stress so there is the possibility of mistakes occurring sometimes,” warned Tufton, in the Jamaica Observer.
The health minister said that the virus is rampant in the population, in almost every community, and the numbers suggest that “it will get worse before it gets better.”
In a video statement, he added further that the government has a responsibility to impose measures to curb the spread of the virus, “a lot of the spread that is taking place in this country is because too many of us are ignoring the need for personal responsibility.”
He said that every three out of 10 persons tested on Saturday were positive.
Tufton made an appeal to the Jamaican public to follow the safety protocols, saying that “the government, the public health system, doctors and nurses alone cannot address this virus and its spread.”