COVID concerns amid Golden Age Home outbreak
A 73-year-old resident at the Golden Age Home in Vineyard Town, St Andrew, is said to be in critical condition, having tested positive for COVID-19.
The resident began displaying symptoms, including a cough and fever, on October 5, and was subsequently admitted to the Kingston Public Hospital. After being tested for COVID-19 on October 13, his sample returned positive two days later.
An alarming 43 positive cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed at the facility that houses 428 senior citizens.
"We are very concerned about the recent outbreak at the Golden Age Home. However, we are confident that we have in place a set of protocols to deal with this eventuality," Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton said during a press conference yesterday. He noted that the other residents are asymptomatic "and we'd like to keep it that way until they recover".
Some 72 samples have been taken thus far, and the ministry says all residents and 162 staff members will be tested, hopefully over the course of two days.
"We must always bear in mind that with the vulnerable communities, there's always the possibility of things getting worse," he said. "That's the short history of the virus. Persons who are most affected are persons over a certain age with comorbidities and that is part of the concern that we have," he said.
Tufton also says the likelihood of a severe outcome is possible, and so, he has pledged to do all that must be done to prevent such.
"I believe we will find a way to overcome and improve the process," he said, also noting that the outbreak has only affected one section of the infirmary.
Meanwhile, Desmond McKenzie, minister of local government, has described the situation as an "unfortunate occasion", and will be carrying out an investigation.
"There has to be some breach why the virus has infected so many persons. It is out of those breaches that the residents were infected," he said.
McKenzie said that there will be a review of the measures that were instituted in all 214 nursing homes and 15 infirmaries.
"One thing we have done in the past, which we may need to do a little more of, is random testing, to not allow so many persons to be infected before you have an indication," he said.
On Tuesday, Jamaica recorded 71 new COVID cases with ages ranging from two to 91 years, increasing the overall case count to 8,445. There are now 4,142 active cases.