KINGSTON, Jamaica, Monday, March 16, 2020 – The first batch of 21 specialist nurses from Cuba will arrive in Jamaica on March 24, to boost the capacity of the health system to deal with the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).
“We’re trying to get about 100 additional specialist nurses in the system, focusing primarily on high intensity units or ICU (intensive care unit),” said Minister of Health and Wellness Dr. Christopher Tufton.
Tufton, who said the development follows discussions with the Cuban Government, added that retired nurses are also being sought to help out at this time.
“I want to use the opportunity to encourage all professionals, who have reached retirement age but are still very skilled and experience, we’re inviting them back to work with us during this period and this is an official invitation,” he said.
In the meantime, isolation areas are being identified at hospitals island wide.
In western Jamaica, wards are being cleared out and equipped with the necessary furniture and equipment.
“We expect that in the coming weeks, we would have had a number of those wards up and running and the alternative arrangements made for persons, who would need to vacate those facilities,” Dr Tufton said.
The Health Minister noted that with the allocation received from the Ministry of Finance and Public Service, orders have already been placed for items including Intensive Care Unit beds and ventilators to add to existing supplies.
Jamaica now has a total of 10 confirmed cases.
There are also cases of COVID-19 in several other Caribbean countries: Aruba, Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Curaçao, the Dominican Republic, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Martinique, Saint Barthelemy, St Lucia, Saint Martin, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Puerto Rico, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela.
The total number of COVID-19 cases and deaths outside China has overtaken the total number of cases in that East Asian country where the outbreak began. As of today, according to the World Health Organization, there are 81,077 confirmed cases and 3,218 deaths in China and 86,434 confirmed cases and 3,388 deaths in 151 other countries.