MoH increases COVID-19 testing in Cornwall Courts

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MoH increases COVID-19 testing in Cornwall Courts

Saturday, October 31, 2020

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CORNWALL COURTS, St James — The Ministry of Health and Wellness is to intensify its COVID-19 testing in the community of Cornwall Courts in St James as of today.

Cornwall Courts and Rae Town in Kingston were placed under special area curfew last week Friday. The measure is scheduled to expire on November 6.

A release from the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) last week stated that the two communities had seen an increase in COVID-19 cases, which is of great concern to the health authorities.

Cornwall Courts has so far registered some 56 cases of the coronavirus with 31 recoveries, 24 active cases and one death.

Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton said swab samples collected for testing in one day from some 92 Cornwall Courts residents recently returned results of 14 positive cases.

"That explains why we are in Cornwall Courts because that is close to a 20 per cent or so positivity rate. It means that for every 100 persons, probably 20 or so, may have COVID," said Dr Tufton, adding that more cases could be in the community.

The health and wellness minister, who toured the community yesterday with a team of health workers, told a meeting at the Cornwall Courts Community Centre with residents and taxi operators that at the community transmission level, Cornwall Courts is currently above the national average.

"The last week or so, we have seen positivity rates that are eight per cent, 12 per cent, [and] 14 per cent, nationally. So, you are literally…you are above the national average currently. And again, that is a justification for why we are here,” said Dr Tufton.

“For these reasons, the ministry will be setting up three testing sites in the community with the hope of collecting between 100 and 150 samples on Saturday [today]. Besides, a mobile unit will also be available.”

The minister said the additional resources being deployed will see the number of health workers in the area moving from 25 to 70, adding that they will run the testing sites and carry out house-to-house visits.

"We will move resources in and they will go house-to-house. And the testing sites will be there so persons who think they need to be tested for whatever reason, whether they feel they may be exposed, or have symptoms, please visit one of those sites or indicate to the team, and we will come in and ask the relevant questions and then we will make a decision from there," said Dr Tufton, as he warned residents not to take the disease lightly.

The minister further stated that once the residents comply and work together, it will be only a matter of time before things will be brought back under control.

For her part, Dr Marcia Johnson Campbell, the senior medical officer assigned to the St James Health Department, commended the community for its responsiveness. She argued that at the end of the two-week special area curfew, the community will be healthier and safer.

Anthony Lewis

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