Jamaica’s Ministry of Health and Wellness has reported that several hospitals across the island are facing a shortage of oxygen as the country sees a shape increase in its COVID-19 cases.
In a statement on Sunday, the ministry said that “all hospitals were low in supply and some were out and had to be supplemented. At the same time, hospitalisations for COVID-19 stood at some 723, with 67 persons critically ill.”
IMPORTANT 🗣🗣 – Hospitals low on Oxygen.
Please see official statement on the Oxygen situation across the health sector. pic.twitter.com/0XxGGnoz3L
— MOHW JA (@themohwgovjm) August 29, 2021
The Ministry said it was working with the country’s only supplier of medical oxygen, IGL Limited, who are seeking to have stores increased in the coming days.
All hospitals – through the regional technical directors at the regional health authorities (RHAs) and senior medical officers – have, in the interim, been instructed on oxygen conservation while the island awaits the restoration of supplies.
The ministry said that of particular concern are critically ill COVID-19 patients as well as non-COVID-19 patients in need of high amounts of oxygen. Surgeries will also not be performed as patients will not be able to be ventilated without oxygen.
The Ministry and the RHAs are doing everything possible to provide the best possible care for all persons, until oxygen stores can be restored.
On Sunday, Jamaica set a new record for the highest total of daily COVID-19 cases, with 929 new COVID-19 infections and confirmed 21 deaths. The new cases moved the total number of infections to 66,663. Active cases are over 16,000.
Just a few days ago, the Ministry had instructed hospitals to suspend general services amid a breakdown of the healthcare sector.
In a release on August 26, the Ministry said that effective immediately, public hospitals islandwide “will be restricted to conducting emergency care services only. This comes as the public health facilities register continued increases in confirmed and suspected cases of COVID-19 infections that required hospitalisation. This has caused the facilities to exceed their COVID-19 isolation capacity.”
Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Jacquiline Bisasor McKenzie said that most hospitals are over the capacity of beds designated for COVID-19 management. As such, general hospital beds are being used for COVID-19 care.