Western Jamaica coping in fight against COVID-19

MONTEGO BAY, St James — Regional director of the Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA), Errol Greene, is assuring the public that western Jamaica is currently coping in its fight against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) disease.

“We are coping as best as we can. If you follow the international news you will see where long-established hospitals with far more resources than us are buckling under the weight,” stated Greene.

The WRHA encompasses the parishes of Trelawny, St James, Hanover and Westmoreland.

Of the four parishes, St James has recorded eight confirmed cases, one death and six recoveries. Westmoreland has two confirmed cases and one recovery. Trelawny has one case, a six-year-old girl who has since recovered, and the parish of Hanover yet to record a confirm case.

St James, which was the hardest-hit parish in the region, has been relatively calm over a number of days.

In fact, Lennox Wallace, parish manager of the St James Health Department, was beaming with joy when the Jamaica Observer spoke with him last Friday.

“I am happy to say that at present we do not even have one person in quarantine at our facilities here in St James,” stated Wallace.

“The technical team has been doing a fantastic job. They are out there doing contact tracing. They are doing the monitoring of the facilities to ensure social distancing, and we are seeing the results here. It is a good Friday for the public health department here in St James.”

Between April 6 and May 8, some 91 people have been tested in St James for the highly contagious virus. The last confirmed case was on April 16.

For his part, Greene argued that the western region is the one with the least number of cases in the country. However, despite the satisfactory results, the regional director noted that the country is currently in an era of community spread, and as a result, the region will not be leaving anything to chance.

“We are the region with the least amount of numbers, but we know that community spread is on us, and therefore we can’t take anything for granted. So, we are preparing ourselves for that eventuality,” stated Greene.

Last month, Greene had told the Observer that he was thankful for the leadership and support from his staff, Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton and the ministry technocrats.

“We are thankful that we are managing. We are still managing to keep our head above waters,” he expressed.

“I am truly thankful for the leadership of our minister, Dr Christopher Tufton, our permanent secretary [Dunstan Bryan], our chief medical officer [Dr Jacquiline Bisasor McKenzie]…, I am thankful for their leadership, and I am thankful for the support of the medical officers in the region, the doctors, the nurses, the matrons, the ancillary staff, and the technical people…, I am truly thankful because they are going above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that we mitigate the disaster that is obviously upon us,” said Greene.

Up to yesterday, Jamaica had 498 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with nine deaths and 57 recoveries.

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