Health & Wellness Ministry expanding the island’s quarantine capacity

Between January 23 and Feb 8, 116 persons arrived in Jamaica who had been in China 14 days prior to arrival here. One person had mild symptoms and was immediately isolated. That person’s symptoms have since improved.

Of the 115 remaining, 27 were not landed, 78 have been assessed as having low risk and have been quarantined at home for follow-up with the local Health Departments. 10 persons, up to Feb 9, were in quarantine in facility operated by the Ministry of Health.

The purpose of quarantine is to closely monitor persons so that symptoms can be picked up early and the appropriate measures taken. This morning, one person was detected to have an elevated temperature and will be isolated as per our protocols.

Samples have been taken and will be processed by the National Influenza Centre and sent overseas for testing. This is the first time that we have detected symptom in any person who is being monitored and have had to move a person from quarantine to isolation. The Ministry will closely monitor this person for any further development and advise the public.

This development can be credited to the country’s continued heightened surveillance efforts. I pause here to recognise and thank the health care team for their diligence.

The Ministry, as part of our collaborative monitoring and management of the risk associated with the new Coronavirus, is expanding the island’s capacity to quarantine individuals returning to Jamaica from China. The designation of St Joseph’s Hospital as one such facility forms a critical part of those efforts.

However, we note the concerns of the residents over the designation of the hospital for this very important purpose and will make ourselves available to answer any questions or otherwise address any lingering issues they may have.

Of note is that we are engaged in ongoing efforts with stakeholders to identify additional quarantine facilities and will advise the public of developments.

The Ministry and our stakeholders urge the public for its continued cooperation and collaboration as we work to ward off the risk of the Novel Coronavirus 2019 while also enhancing our collective preparedness for any eventuality.