Jamaican News

Testing For COVID-19 Being Done Islandwide

Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, is assuring that the rest of the island is not being denied testing as health authorities focus on the workplace cluster in St. Catherine.

Shortly after a worker at Alorica Jamaica, a business process outsourcing (BPO) call centre in Portmore, tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19); subsequent cases emerged that quickly drove up the number of confirmed cases in the country.

The workers, numbering 787, are still being tested and their close contacts traced, interviewed and tested. Those employees who tested positive have been removed from the parish, along with some of their contacts, in a bid to contain the spread of the virus.

“The rest of the country is not deprived of those tests because of the work that is taking place in St. Catherine. The entire country is administered based on [established] protocols, but at the same time, St. Catherine is a particular point of interest because of the particular location,” Dr. Tufton said, while addressing a digital press conference on Wednesday (April 29).

The Minister described St. Catherine as “ground zero” in terms of the current spread of the virus, primarily because of the workplace cluster, which accounts for 202 of the 396 confirmed cases in the country so far.

He explained that based on ongoing contact tracing arrangements, a targeted approach has been taken to testing the staff of the entity and their close contacts. More than 40 contacts have been diagnosed with the virus.

Due to the influx of positive cases, a 24-hour curfew was imposed in St. Catherine on Wednesday (April 15) to limit the spread of COVID-19.

The curfew, which would have ended on Wednesday (April 29), has been extended for a further three days until May1. The extension is necessary to provide additional time for the testing and interviewing of some 300 more persons in the parish.


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