Ministry on alert for fourth COVID waveThursday, December 09, 2021
CHIEF Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Jacquiline Bisasor McKenzie says there is enough oxygen supply to manage a possible fourth wave of COVID-19.
The CMO, addressing a Jamaica Observer Press Club at Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston yesterday, said that IGL, Jamaica's sole supplier of medical oxygen, has indicated that it is able to increase supplies to boost its local production.
“We can never predict where our numbers will be, and certainly if you pass a very high number then you will run into supply issues again. Based on what has happened in the last surge and the ability of the supplier to get in the supplies, they have made contacts with different markets in the region from Trinidad and Tobago and Costa Rica. That is a plus,” she said.
“In terms of our ability to manage a surge, we certainly would have to go beyond a certain number – maybe more than 1,200 beds for COVID-19 – and then we would still have to decrease oxygen supply from other areas so that we will be able to use more oxygen for COVID-19 patients. That is the measure that we will always end up going to when the numbers are very high but, so far, we don't have any reason to reach up to that 1,200 beds,” she added.
Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton added that there are also mobile oxygen concentrators to help with the fight against the novel coronavirus.
“We have recognised the challenges with oxygen as one of the possible bottlenecks if we become overwhelmed in the system and, of course, we came close to that in the third wave,” said Tufton.
— Brittny Hutchinson