Surge in admission to infirmaries since lifting of restrictions — McKenzie
MCKENZIE...since we lifted the restrictions, over 300 new residents have come into our infirmaries islandwide.

SAVANNA-LA-MAR, Westmoreland — Nine months after the ban on infirmaries and golden age homes accepting new residents was lifted, there has been a surge in admissions.

The ban, which was implemented in 2020, was aimed at protecting residents, some of whom are vulnerable, from the COVID-19 virus. The ban was lifted on July 1 of last year.

"Since we lifted the restrictions on admissions to our infirmaries, over 300 new residents have come into our infirmaries islandwide," stated Local Government and Rural Development Minister Desmond McKenzie.

To date, there are close to 1,600 residents in the island's 13 infirmaries and two golden age homes.

McKenzie, who was addressing the opening ceremony for a male ward at the Westmoreland Infirmary last Wednesday, commended the infirmary staff for its contribution in the upkeep of protocols put in place during the pandemic.

The minister noted that during the pandemic, only 10 residents died across the island.

"There are infirmaries that never had one case of COVID. In my own constituency, the Golden Age Home never recorded one case of COVID. And I want to thank the staff for a job well done because it is your effort working and maintaining the protocols that were set out that caused Jamaica to be one of the leading countries in the care and protection of our elderly in our infirmaries across the world," stated McKenzie.

The ward at the Westmoreland Infirmary was constructed to accommodate 50 male residents. The infirmary already has over 30. Efforts are currently underway to accommodate social cases from the Savanna-la-Mar Public General Hospital.

Last month, the Jamaica Observer reported that the Westmoreland Municipal Corporation had committed to accepting social cases from the Savanna-la-Mar Public General Hospital.

The disclosure was made by mayor of Savanna-la-Mar Bertel Moore during a ceremony for the handing over and commissioning of a $29-million boiler unit and room for the lone Type-B facility under the control of the Western Regional Health Authority

However, McKenzie said the local government ministry had engaged the Ministry of Health and Wellness to take social cases from hospitals which are taking up well needed beds.

"We will ensure that those cases here in Westmoreland will be considered and it will be done based on merit," assured McKenzie.

BY ANTHONY LEWIS Observer writer

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