Photo: Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton
KINGSTON, Jamaica, Thursday April 30, 2020 – Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton has confirmed that one of the 46 deportees who returned last Tuesday from the United States has tested positive for COVID-19.
He said the Ministry is still awaiting some additional information on the others, and “as soon as we have it, we will provide it”.
In the meantime, Prime Minister Andrew Holness said the standard protocols are being observed to prevent spread of the virus among the deportees, who are being quarantined in an area where they have their own rooms and bathrooms.
He indicated, however, that the location the deportees were being quarantined would not be disclosed nor would their identities, as there is an order in place for the identity of persons who have tested positive or are being tested for the virus to remain confidential.
As of yesterday, the country had 396 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 32 new cases in the preceding 48 hours. Fifteen of those new cases are associated with a call centre in the southeastern parish of St Catherine, Alorica Jamaica; 11 are contacts of confirmed case; there was one imported case; and five others are under investigation.
More than half of Jamaica’s total cases were from Alorica.
“Of the 396 confirmed cases, 202 are employees of the workplace cluster in St. Catherine. Their ages range from 18 to 53 years. They include 151 females and 51 males. They are primarily from the parishes of St. Catherine, and Kingston and St. Andrew,” Dr. Tufton said.
In a 48-hour period, one person from another business process outsourcing (BPO) centre in Kingston tested positive for COVID-19.
“The employee, a resident of St. Catherine, has been placed in isolation at a government facility. The health departments in Kingston and St. Andrew, and St. Catherine have begun contact tracing to ascertain those who may have come in contact with the employee,” the Health Minister said.
The BPO has been temporarily closed for cleaning and, on recommendation, some employees will be sampled based on the risk assessment.
Relating to this BPO case, Tufton said, “it is not determined at this time that the individual who has tested positive picked up the virus from the particular facility”.
The Ministry of Health and Wellness has done 3,993 samples of tests for COVID-19, of which 3,567 are negative and 30 are pending.
There are 385 persons in isolation and 89 in quarantine in a government facility, seven persons have died and 29 persons have recovered.