Separating COVID-19 test backlog makes sense

Letters to the Editor

Separating COVID-19 test backlog makes sense

Friday, August 07, 2020

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Dear Editor,

Most Jamaicans have been concerned about the recent spike in positive COVID-19 cases on the island and the increase in numbers of hospitalisations, even if symptoms are mild.

Until recently the number of cases and recoveries were moving in the right direction with encouraging results.

I support Health Minister Christopher Tufton's suggestion to report test backlog separately. It does not make sense to combine them, considering many people who have been tested have already left the country. However contact tracing might be a concern. Combining the results will cause alarm as it skews the daily figures.

Testing is costly and it defeats the purpose when there is a long wait for results, the time lag makes it difficult to take action.

Another suggestion is to provide more detail behind the test results. We must see the statistics behind the numbers; not just in the daily test results, but accumulative as well. I suspect the US tops the list of imported cases. Are most returning residents infected? What percentage are tourists? We must understand the risk factors to better manage the crises and keep Jamaicans safe.

Finally, with borders opened we must not be lax on protocols regarding the wearing of masks in public spaces when social distancing cannot be practised. We are told by the experts that when most people wear masks the risk of transmission through close contact is reduced significantly.

Jamaica has to remain vigilant, the Bahamas is on a 14-day lockdown after recording a significant spike. Trinidad's border is still closed, so is Cayman.

P Chin

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