Golden Age Home 'out of the woods', says Tufton

Golden Age Home 'out of the woods', says Tufton

Senior staff reporter

Thursday, October 29, 2020

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HEALTH and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton has said The Golden Age Home in Vineyard Town, St Andrew, where 87 individuals — including staff and residents — have tested positive for COVID-19, is “out of the woods” in terms of the virus' infection risk and threat.

He made the observation against the background that, of the 620 residents and staff tested over the last three days, only 87 returned positive results while 553 received negative results. Of the positive cases, 65 are residents and 22 staff.

According to Dr Tufton, who was speaking at a virtual press briefing hosted by the Office of the Prime Minister yesterday evening, “All positive cases remain stable and asymptomatic, except for the first case, who unfortunately has since died.” He said the deceased was a 73-year-old male resident.

The health and wellness minister also said steps are being taken to ensure that there is sufficient provision and use of protective gear, in addition to continued training of staff and deep cleaning of the facility. He said, too, that the daily visits by medical officers will continue.

The Golden Age Home is the largest of its kind in the English-speaking Caribbean.

Turning to other similar facilities islandwide, Dr Tufton said 236 of them have been inspected, including 203 nursing homes, 13 infirmaries, 14 children's homes, and six rehabilitation institutions.

“Some 99 nursing homes were found to be compliant with COVID-19 protocols, seven infirmaries, four children's homes, and two of the rehabilitation institutions,” he said.

The minister also said two nursing homes, one in Manchester and the other in Hanover, have been ordered closed after inspection, while several others have been served notices and given up to a maximum 30 days to ramp up their compliance.

In the meantime, in relation to prisons and lock-ups, Dr Tufton said 43 of the 106 facilities in the country have been inspected, with 12 meeting COVID-19 standards and the remaining 31 being given a timeline to become compliant.

Meanwhile, Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie has indicated that a response is coming for individuals who have been clamouring to be allowed to visit their relatives who are in infirmaries.

“We are currently devising a programme to put us in a position to create some avenue for persons to be able to visit,” he said.

The minister said the programme will be finalised based on the advice of health officials.

“The Government is on top of our infirmaries, despite the slips that occurred at the Vineyard Town facility...,” McKenzie insisted.

A cluster of cases was uncovered at the facility earlier this month, during the health ministry's ongoing islandwide surveillance of senior citizens' homes and infirmaries.

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