COVID COMPLIANCE

COVID COMPLIANCE

Sandy Bay residents embrace testing despite quarantine difficulties

BY ALICIA DUNKLEY-WILLIS
Senior staff reporter
dunkleywillisa@jamaicaibserver.com

Saturday, August 08, 2020

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Residents of several communities in Sandy Bay, Clarendon, yesterday surged forward to be tested by health workers following the imposition of a 14-day quarantine announced on Thursday in the wake of an outbreak of COVID-19 cases there.

Yesterday, when the Jamaica Observer visited ahead of a team led by Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton, the Derby Terrace community was abuzz with activity as health workers, utilising trees for shade, were busy testing residents of all ages who complied with the requirement.

One resident, who had already been screened when the Observer arrived, was anxious for others to follow suit.

“From day one mi nuh really talk up to people, but tru' mi work inna di shop and yuh know people come, so mi try go get miself tested. I was scared at first, but might as well everybody come out and do it and wi free up, and who fi get quarantine and who fi get isolate; just get this thing over with,” she said.

In the meantime, she was unhappy with the restrictions brought on by the quarantine.

“It stressing, it's not easy. Yuh cannot go out, because once you say you're from Sandy Bay people are going to scorn you. They gave us time this morning to go out and get food and no taxi nah pick up no one from here, so we have to walk actually a mile to go and get taxi,” she told the Observer.

One home care worker, who is now trapped within the community as a result of the quarantine, also made her way to be tested while sharing her dilemma with the Observer.

“Mi want to go May Pen to go get some food, because nutten nuh inna di house fi di old lady. I'm not from here, I work here. They call mi and tell mi nuh come a yuh yard, stay weh yuh deh,”she said.

“Mi feel bad because mi waan go home this weekend and come back. Mi haffi guh look likkle food, 'cause she have sugar (diabetes) and mi have sugar,” she said of the woman for whom she provides care.

“My granddaugther somewhere down the road call and tell mi seh her father have it. A so wi know seh it [coronavirus] deh roun', 'cause wi neva know,” she said, a worried look on her face.

The willingness of people to be tested despite fears was, for medical officer of health for the Clarendon Health Department Dr Kimberly Scarlett-Campbell, a pleasant surprise.

“This is a different community than I had earlier this week. Persons of all ages are lining up to be tested, so it's a different mood. They are engaged. You have a few that might not be too happy but they are still coming out,” she told the Observer.

She said the team, which has been in the area since August 2, will be testing residents of the 10 to 15 communities which comprise Sandy Bay, home to approximately 500 people.

“We are going to be testing all over. We test based on the risk as well as persons who are symptomatic. We are going to be testing for the entire two-week period. We are going to be testing every day,” she said.

Dr Scarlett-Campbell said there were 29 active cases in the parish so far.

“We have nine suspected and four confirmed, but of the four confirmed, two are mild,” Scarlett-Campbell said, adding that the nine suspected cases have been hospitalised.

She said the index case which is responsible for the cascade of cases in the parish, as well as another connected individual, are among those in hospital.

The remainder of the 29, she said, were split between a hotel and home isolation. One child is among the number, Scarlett Campbell disclosed.

In the meantime, she said the health officials were taking no chances.

“Right where we are now we are testing 34 households — child, adult, whether you are symptomatic or not. We are also testing persons who request to be tested,” she said in reference to the day's activities.

The quarantine resulted from contact between an infected church leader and members of a church in the area who reportedly flouted the safety protocols issued by the Government in its efforts to contain the spread of the virus.

Similarly, a St Thomas community, which up to Thursday recorded 28 positive cases, has also been placed under quarantine for two weeks as the country recorded 30 new COVID-19 cases within 24 hours on Thursday, sparking fears that Jamaica might be experiencing a second wave of the virus.

The island's first case was recorded on March 10.


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