Jamaican CMO Calls for Continued COVID-19 Vigilance to Avoid Surge

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

An appeal has been made for Jamaicans to continue to adhere to health safety measures, particularly during the summer period, in an effort to stem the spread of COVID-19.

The appeal was made by the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Jacquiline Bisasor-McKenzie, who said the country is going into a dangerous period.

“If we take the experience from last year … during the summer period, there were various activities and events that would have led to increased exposure and an increased transmission rate, so this is not the time to let go of your precautions,” she said.

In addressing the virtual COVID Conversations press briefing last week, the CMO noted that the major COVID-19 indicators have shown a decline.

She also said that communities that had consistent positive cases over the last two weeks have also shown a gradual decline in newly confirmed cases.

“We now have 243 communities of the 783 communities that have new positive cases over the last two weeks [which is] 31 per cent of communities,” she noted.

She said while the decline puts Jamaica’s geographical spread into the medium-level range – the Ministry is aiming for a less than 25 per cent community spread.

Meanwhile, Dr. Bisasor-McKenzie said that the island’s positivity rate, at 10 per cent, is still too high for the Ministry to consider any more relaxation of social distancing measures at this time.

“Where we need to get to is below five per cent for us to feel comfortable, especially approaching the summer period,” she indicated.

Dr. Bisasor-Mckenzie said that hospital admittance data have also shown fluctuations, which reflects that the island’s positivity rate is still too high.

As of June 16, there were 49,503 confirmed cases of the virus in Jamaica, 74 newly confirmed cases, 1,023 deaths recorded, with a 2.1 per cent case fatality rate.

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