Jamaican with ‘elevated temperature’ in isolation

Jamaican with ‘elevated temperature’ in isolation

BY SHARLENE HENDRICKS
Staff reporter
hendrickss@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

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A Jamaican who has been quarantined at a government facility since returning to the island from China was yesterday put in isolation, the first such development in Jamaica since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.


Speaking at a press briefing yesterday, Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton said the individual was put in isolation yesterday morning after their temperature became elevated.


“This is the first time that we have detected symptoms in any patient or person who is being monitored, and have had to move a patient or individual from quarantine to isolation. Samples have been taken and will be processed by the National Influenza Centre and sent overseas for testing.


“The ministry will closely monitor this patient for any further development and we will advise the public as time progresses,” said Dr Tufton.


Chief Medical Officer Dr Jacquiline Bisasor-Mckenzie explained further that the patient had travelled to a province in China that has recorded the third-highest number of cases of the coronavirus.


“What is important is that we have a rising temperature in a person who has travelled to an area of concern. The particular person has come from an area of China where there has been an increase in the number of cases.


“This patient has an elevated temperature — it is not at the level where we consider it to be a fever. What it is, is a progression, and therefore a cause for concern. The person’s temperature may settle down, or it may continue to rise,” she said. “What we have to do is monitor the case very carefully. A sample has been taken and it is going to be sent for testing.


“In another two or three days we will get back that result and we can either clear the patient or we continue isolation,” the chief medical officer said.


Presently, Dr Bisasor-McKenzie said there are 10 people being quarantined at a government facility, and another 78 individuals are quarantined at home.


“I want to reassure everyone that the process of quarantining persons at home is not a simple one, that we just send persons home; the homes are investigated by the health department. We ensure that there is adequate space for the person to remain far away from other persons, and we ensure that the person is educated as to how it is that they conduct themselves and how they move around. We ensure that the family is also educated and then the health department checks on these patients on a daily basis.


“That check means that the person may be given a thermometer and they are asked to check their temperatures and they are given a log to monitor their symptoms, and this is reviewed by the health department on a daily basis. If necessary, the health department visits the home on a daily basis as well,” the chief medical officer added.


In the meantime, Dr Tufton said the ministry will be expanding the island’s capacity to quarantine individuals returning to Jamaica from China.


“We are engaged in ongoing efforts with stakeholders who identify additional quarantine facilities and we will advise the public of these developments. We do believe that the quarantine method works, as evidenced by this emerging situation, which we hope will not result in any further health risk, but nevertheless the precaution is very necessary,” said Dr Tufton.


Between January 23 and February 8, a total 116 people, who had been in China 14 days prior, arrived in Jamaica.


The first person who presented with mild symptoms and was isolated upon arrival to the island has since improved.


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