JALGO concerned about delay in COVID-19 test results for health care workers

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JALGO concerned about delay in COVID-19 test results for health care workers

Monday, September 21, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Jamaica Association of Local Government Officers (JALGO) is expressing concern about a delay in COVID-19 test results for public health inspectors and vector control staff.

The union today informed that it has sought the intervention of Dunstan Bryan, permanent secretary at theMinistry of Health & Wellness, in an effort to ensure the release of results, which it said have been outstanding since September 16.

The union, in a letter to Bryan today, said that the concern among its members is that “it is apparent that there is no priority being given to the testingof heath care workers”.

It was noted in the letter, which was also copied to Health Minister, Dr Christopher Tufton, that assurances were given by "operatives from the Ministry of Health and Wellness that health care workers would be given priority in the testing regime and therefore their results would be available within 24 to 48 hours of the tests having been conducted".

JALGO said thatthe undue delay in the provision of the results has affected various programmes of the Health Department, including dengue mitigation, COVID-19 response and food hygiene programmes, as the entire vector control staff and a significant number of public health inspectors have been quarantined, awaiting their test results.

The union also expressed concern aboutworkplace protocols, specifically physical distancing, which it said is almostimpossible in the“cramped conditions” under which workers carry out their functions.

It requested that the ministry intervenes to ensure that the pending test results be released promptly and that going forward, measures be put in place to prioritise COVID-19 testing of health care workers.

JALGO also said that specific instructions should be given for a work from home policy to be implemented, where possible.

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