Jamaican Health Authorities Restrict Public Hospitals to Emergency Care as COVID Cases Surge

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Jamaican health authorities said that all public hospitals will from Wednesday be restricted to conducting emergency care services only blaming the increased cases of patients suffering from the coronavirus (COVID-19) for the situation.

tuhealthHealth and Wellness Minister Dr. Christopher Tufton speaking at the National Health Fund (NHF) Marcus Garvey Drive facility in St. Andrew on Tuesday January 18th. (photo by Dave Reid)In addition, the authorities are also warning of a decreased staff coverage as many healthcare workers have reported sick.

A government statement said that as of Sunday, there were some 682 persons in hospital isolation for COVID-19 with 486 positive and another 196 suspected.

“All our hospitals are seeing increased numbers and several of the larger hospitals are over 90 per cent capacity with some over 100 per cent. At the same time, there is an increase in admissions for other illnesses. As a result, all public hospitals are operating on emergencies only,” said Health and Wellness Minister, Dr. Christopher Tufton.

He said people “should exercise discretion in going to the hospitals at this time”.

The authorities said that elective cases are being postponed and that members of the public will be advised as to the new dates for these procedures.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness said it will continue to encourage all persons to get vaccinated, adding “it is critical that all persons wear masks, wash hands frequently and exercise the six-feet physical distance rule. Members of the public are also to avoid gatherings and stay home if you are ill”.