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Ministry seeks vulnerable relatives of Alorica workers


EMPLOYEES of the Alorica call centre in Portmore, St Catherine, are being asked to notify health authorities about household members at greater risk of being severely impacted by the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

This is against the background of an outbreak of the virus at the business process outsourcing company (BPO), which has seen 221 of the entity’s 787 workers, and 36 of their contacts testing positive for the virus.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Jacquiline Bisasor McKenzie, who made the appeal Wednesday, said the ministry is seeking to quickly identify and closely monitor persons within employees’ households, such as the elderly, who may have been exposed to the disease.

Older people and individuals with underlying conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, asthma and heart disease are at a higher risk of developing more severe complications from the disease.

“We have gone now about three incubation periods since the start of the Alorica (cases) and so therefore (this means) getting into the homes as this is where the vulnerable persons may be,” Dr Bisasor McKenzie noted.

“We would want these persons to reach out to us to call our hotlines so that we can follow up on these persons closely to be able to pick up on any illness early so we can manage it appropriately,” she told the digital press conference on Wednesday.

Dr Bisasor McKenzie said that between 80 to 90 per cent of Aloria workers have been tested so far. The surge in cases at the call centre resulted in the number of cases in the island quickly climbing to 478. In the meantime, the chief medical officer said there have been no additional positive cases coming out of Conduent, another Portmore-based BPO firm, “but we continue to test”.

One employee tested positive for the virus in late April. “We have had another batch of tests that have come in that we have to go through in order to make sure that we don’t miss anyone,” she said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), based in the United States of America, symptoms of COVID-19 may appear two to 14 days after exposure to the virus.

Mild symptoms include: cough, fever, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, and new loss of taste or smell. More severe symptoms, which require immediate medical attention are: difficulty breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion and bluish lips or face

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