Health officials in southern parishes hoping COVID-19 hospitalisations remain lowThursday, August 05, 2021
BY KASEY WILLIAMS
MANDEVILLE, Manchester — With almost 46 per cent of bed spaces now occupied, health authorities here are hoping that COVID-19 cases requiring hospitalisation in the southern region remain minimal.
Regional technical director at the Southern Regional Health Authority (SRHA) Dr Vitillius Holder told the Jamaica Observer yesterday that there has been a slow increase in the number of people with COVID-19 in hospitals.
“We have not reached capacity as a region in terms of the beds, but given what is happening nationally, we are seeing a slow increase in the numbers and we know that once we have active cases we are going to be having admissions,” she said.
SRHA is responsible for the oversight of health facilities and services in Manchester, Clarendon, and St Elizabeth.
Dr Holder said, with increased active cases, there is cause for concern for hospital admissions.
“What we have noticed [is that], based on our active cases, on an average we will have an admission for about eight to 10 per cent for the active cases, so the higher our number of active cases, we get more concerned. Right now, with our capacity, we are able to manage as we speak,” she said.
She gave a breakdown of the number of COVID-19 patients at the five hospitals in the region.
“We have in all 96 beds that are used for COVID [patients]. Presently, at the Mandeville Regional Hospital, we have 19 [patients] on the ward. At the Black River Hospital, from a bed [capacity] of 23, we have five [patients]. For May Pen Hospital, from a bed capacity of 27, we have 12 [patients] on the ward,” she said.
At Percy Junor Hospital, six patients have been admitted on the COVID-19 ward, which has a bed capacity of 16.
At the Lionel Town Hospital, two patients have been admitted on the COVID-19 ward, with a bed capacity of 11.
She said there needs to be greater adherence to the COVID-19 health and safety protocols to reduce transmission of the novel coronavirus.
“The population has a great role to play in terms of helping to reduce the number of cases that exists. So, for example, we know we have opened up to allow for social gathering and so on, what we are finding [is that] when persons go out there, they are not [adhering to] the precautions. Therefore, they are looser now. When they go home, they are carrying it more,” said Dr Holder.
“What we are now seeing is that a lot of family members are [getting sick]; before, when people go out there, they are relaxed, so I'm encouraging the nation that when they leave home that they practise the measures so as to ensure that there is a reduction in the number of cases,” she added.
The regional technical director is encouraging people to get vaccinated.
“People need to be vaccinated. Increasing our vaccination coverage will help in reducing transmission as well as the severity. Find a vaccination site nearby and get vaccinated,” she said.
She disclosed that more than 20,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine have been administered in Clarendon, with more than 12,000 of that number being first doses.
“For the region, about 6.8 per cent of the population would have [received] first doses, but in terms of those fully vaccinated we are about 4.5 per cent,” she advised.
“For the southern region, from Saturday until now [yesterday], we have vaccinated over 7,600 people… We are out there trying to increase our coverage as we speak… We are seeing younger people coming out, but we need to see more, especially relating to those in the workplace. We need to see a greater uptake,” she added.
Dr Holder is imploring employers to allow their staff to get vaccinated.
“Another message I have is for the employers to send out their staff to get vaccinated, because I know you have to be maintaining your workforce, but we need to ensure that the vaccination sites that are open, that people do come to the sites,” she said.