Coronavirus
JM | Jul 25, 2021

Jamaica’s COVID-19 caseload again on the rise as infections spike

Gavin Riley

Gavin Riley / Our Today

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Health and Wellness Minister, Dr Christopher Tufton, sounds alarm as cases spiral in Jamaica

Dr Christopher Tufton addressing Thursday’s (July 22) COVID Conversations press briefing. (Photo: Adrian Walker, Jamaica Information Service)

Coronavirus (COVID-19) infections are again on the rise in Jamaica, presenting more challenges for a public health sector that barely withstood a deadly wave months earlier, as the unrelenting pandemic spreads. 

Amid the relaxing of COVID-19 restrictions and the reopening of the island’s entertainment sector by Prime Minister Andrew Holness on July 1, new COVID-19 infections are trending upwards, according to Our Today analysis of data published by the Ministry of Health and Wellness. 

In the last 12 days, including Saturday (July 24), Jamaica recorded 1,191 new COVID-19 cases—a 47.35 per cent jump over the 627 new infections confirmed in the first 12 days of the month. 

The island’s positivity rate, referring to the number of confirmed cases against samples tested, has also seen a worrying uptick, standing at 18.6 per cent as of yesterday, which is more than double the 8.8 per cent rate recorded at the start of July. 

Over the last 12 days, Jamaican health officials have confirmed 99.25 cases on average daily, and a public positivity rate of just over 10.5 per cent. 

The health ministry, in its clinical management summary for July 24, indicated that Jamaica’s cumulative COVID-19 caseload stands at 51,984. 

Of that number, the country is managing 3,609 active cases, while 46,843 persons have recovered from the virulent respiratory infection. 

With three deaths in the last 24 hours, 1,176 Jamaican lives have been lost due to coronavirus-related complications, the ministry added. 

Additionally, some 134 patients are being treated at hospital, 38 of which were categorised as ‘moderately ill’ and 16 classified as ‘critically ill’. Another 44,566 persons are observing quarantine protocols at home, while 13 more are under isolation at a government facility.

The prospect of another islandwide epidemic spells disaster for the country, particularly ahead of the upcoming Emancipendence festivities next week.

For his part, Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton expressed concern at the spiralling rate of increase of COVID-19 infections and the corresponding positivity rate.

“From a benchmarking contextual level, you really want that rate to be five per cent or less. The fact that it is moving up is a cause for concern,” he said.

Tufton, speaking on Thursday during the ministry’s weekly COVID Conversations, noted ominously that 259 or 33 per cent of 783 Jamaican communities have existing COVID-19 cases.

“[S]o, a third of our communities have the existing COVID cases based on our surveillance, and this links to dates of onset in the last two weeks”.

Dr Tufton noted, as well, that hospitalisations with respect to the pandemic also show an uptick in the last seven days. 

“We have gone from 199 daily hospitalisations to 251,” he explained.

“Frankly speaking… this is not good for the country as it relates to COVID. This is not the direction that we want to head in,” Tufton stressed.

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