Gov't identifies western Jamaica quarantine facility, seeking others

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Gov't identifies western Jamaica quarantine facility, seeking others

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton,says the Government has identified a quarantine facility in western Jamaica, and is looking at other facilities elsewhere, in light of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), which is affecting some countries worldwide.

Tufton made the announcement today (February 18) during a tour of St Joseph's Hospital in Kingston, which has been designated a quarantine facility.

Following a travel ban that was placed on China by local authorities, the hospital was last month converted into a quarantine facility for people who have travelled to China and have been exposed to the disease but have not displayed any symptoms.

Dr Tufton said the hospital, which has 14 self-contained rooms and six nurses on staff, currently has no one under quarantine, but will remain open as needed, as the facility is adequately prepared to deal with issues of health or health risks.

“We have the capacity to provide persons with adequate amenities, food, and the medical staff for us to check to see that they are either stable or their condition suggests further investigations,” he said.

The minister stressed that it must be clearly understood that the hospital is not an isolation facility, which is distinctly different from a quarantine facility.

He explained that a quarantine facility is used to hold and monitor people who have been exposed to the disease and have not shown any signs, while an isolation facility is used to house persons who have shown elevated symptoms or temperature, having been exposed to the disease.

The minister again reassured residents of Vineyard Town and surrounding environs that they are at no health risk from the hospital being used as a quarantine centre, while appealing for their understanding and cooperation.

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