COVID scare at Westmoreland Municipal CorporationFriday, August 20, 2021
By Kimberley Peddie
SAVANNA-LA-MAR, Westmoreland — The Westmoreland Municipal Corporation (WMC) will reopen today after shutting its doors for an entire day because of a COVID-19 scare. The building underwent deep cleaning and staff were advised to get tested, according to deputy mayor of Savanna-la-Mar Councillor Danree Delancy.
“We got to understand that there is a possibility that staff members might have come in contact with people showing flu-like or COVID symptoms,” explained Delancy. “The case numbers are high in the parish and so we [decided to] just err on the side of caution.”
Health officials have, in the past, indicated that business places with COVID-19 cases need not close for deep cleaning. On Thursday, chief public health inspector for the parish, Steve Morris, told the Jamaica Observer that he has, in the past, communicated this to the WMC.
“They are supposed to be doing their deep cleaning every day,” shared Morris.
“You treat everyone who comes in the facility as if they have COVID. We are in community spread, it's everywhere now,” he added.
The deputy mayor said this was not the first time the building had been closed for deep cleaning as one member of staff had contracted COVID-19 in the past. Meanwhile, for this latest scare, they are in the contact tracing stage. He said he had tried to have staff tested on site, but the public health department said it was stretched thin and unable to provide that service.
Efforts to get additional details throughout the day were met with vague responses or none at all.
When contacted, Mayor Bertel Moore said he was unaware of the building's closure as he had not been in office lately.
The WMC went on its usual summer break in July and meetings are expected to resume in September.
The scare at the WMC came the same day news broke that Westmoreland Central Member of Parliament George Wright and his partner had been hospitalised with COVID-19.
Westmoreland is one of the parishes hard hit during the ongoing third wave of COVID-19 sweeping across the country.
On Wednesday, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr Jacquiline Bisasor-McKenzie announced that of the seven parishes with the Delta variant, Westmoreland leads the tally with five cases.