Record one-day COVID cases stress health systemSunday, March 07, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica — With Jamaica having a one-day record of 527 new COVID-19 cases on Friday from 2,484 tests, Minister of Health Dr Christopher Tufton is urging Jamaicans to follow the protocols in place to prevent the wide scale spread of the virus.
Responding to the record one-day number yesterday, Tufton told OBSERVER ONLINE that the island's public health system is now facing a crisis as it struggles to deal with the number of people seeking treatment.
“This number of positive cases on Friday is the highest number that we have had in any 24-hour testing period and it continues to justify the concerns that we have in public health and in the Government that the protocols are not being observed the way we would like to see them observed.
“The virus is rampant in the population in almost every community across the country and in fact, very worryingly the trend suggests that it will get worse before it gets better. I think that tomorrow (today) we will see higher numbers than the 527. Based on the preliminary reports that I am seeing it could be between 600 and 700,” said Tufton.
He argued that the increasing numbers of positive cases is proof that the Government needs to continue the stringent measures that have been implemented to contain movement.
According to Tufton, he will be taking the latest numbers to the Cabinet where he will point out the impact this is having on the public health system.
“The truth is that as I have said in the early stages one has to expect a negative impact of the increases on the public health system. The negative impact means longer waits, service quality that could be affected because of equipment over capacity, personnel fatigue and so the system will be under stress so there is the possibility of mistakes occurring sometimes,” warned Tufton.
“We have seen some cases in recent times of complaints, and we have seen increases in the number of complaints in some of our institutions. Those complaints cannot be detached from the increase in positivity in our country and that cannot be detached from many of us choosing not to observe the protocols,” added Tufton.
The health minister said that many Jamaicans are ignoring the protocols and then expect that the hospitals will be able to offer their normal standard of care in the middle of a crisis.
“I want to use this opportunity to remind Jamaicans that if we do not observe the protocols we are likely to overwhelm the public health system and the blow back will be on those who need it most and that is what we are witnessing now,” declared Tufton.
He said the public health system is mandated to treat everyone who seeks help, but the reality is that it is being seriously stretched by the numbers.
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