27 nurses exposed to COVID-19 placed in quarantineFriday, August 27, 2021
BY ANTHONY LEWIS
MONTEGO BAY, St James — Monday's exposure of 27 nurses to the novel coronavirus is understandable based on the current surge, according to clinical coordinator for the Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA), Dr Delroy Fray. The nurses, who work at Cornwall Regional Hospital, have been placed in quarantine.
While it is likely that they were exposed on the job, Dr Fray said, it was also plausible that it had occurred while they went about their everyday lives. He could not say how they became exposed as he had not done “an interview to find out”.
“Don't forget, nurses are normal people like us. They can be exposed from anywhere. But because of the nature of the work, it is likely that they could be exposed from their workplace. And, it is hard to tell,” he said. “You can't know a patient who has COVID. If you know they have COVID, you know what to do; but for patients who come otherwise and it doesn't look like COVID, then you could be exposed.”
He pointed out that this is not the first time that there has been such a high number of health workers being exposed to the virus
“We have had some numbers like that in the last [surge]. Every time you have a flare-up, we have that type of situation,” he said.
He argued that there was no way to prevent a recurrence.
“We can't prevent people from catching COVID. All you have to do is take the necessary precautions to minimise your exposure. So if you choose not to look after patients, then you can minimise the risk,” he told the Jamaica Observer.
The 27 nurses' exposure to the virus predated Wednesday's reports that 33 of them had called in sick, as have others across the island.
The sick out took a toll on four hospitals in St James, Hanover, Westmoreland and Trelawny that are under the supervision of the WRHA. St James was the worst of them all.