Hospitals low on oxygen – Public urged to vaccinate against COVID-19

With lives at stake given the high number of hospitalisations associated with COVID-19, the Ministry of Health & Wellness is pursuing all efforts to support public health facilities that are low or otherwise now out of oxygen.

Up to this morning, 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.

The Ministry is now in dialogue with oxygen suppliers IGL Limited, who are seeking to have stores increased tomorrow and into Tuesday.

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.

Of particular concern at this time 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.

The Ministry continues to encourage members of the public to get vaccinated against COVID-19. To do so, Jamaicans are encouraged to make their vaccination appointments online at www.moh.gov.jm or by calling the Vaccination Call Centre at 888-ONE-LOVE (888-663-5683).

Once members of the public have their appointments confirmed, they should visit their vaccination site with their government-issued identification or a letter from the Justice of the Peace. Those due a second dose will also need to take their vaccination card.

The Ministry is also urging the public to remain vigilant in their adherence to infection prevention and control measures, notably, mask wearing; maintaining a physical distance from others; and frequently washing and/or sanitising hands.

On Saturday, August 28, the island recorded 929 new COVID-19 infections and confirmed 21 deaths. The new cases moved the total number of infections to 66,663 since the first case was recorded last year while the death toll climbed to 1,504.