KINGSTON, Jamaica, April 24, 2020 (CMC) – The Ministry of Health and Wellness is actively conducting sampling and testing of its employees for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The move comes, as seven of the Ministry’s staff have tested positive for the virus.
Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. Christopher Tufton, said more than 100 additional samples were collected from staff members, on Wednesday, and the sampling exercise continued into Thursday.
“We are doing a lot of testing of Ministry of Health personnel, even where we feel the risk is minimal; we are not taking any chances,” he said, during a digital press conference, on Wednesday.
He noted that contact tracing is being done to determine the level of exposure, adding that counselling for staff members has started and will continue, as necessary.
“Some have been placed in home quarantine and given additional information and follow-up action, based on their role, and based on the contacts they have come in touch with, that may be affected,” Dr. Tufton indicated.
He pledged that the Ministry will do all that is necessary to ensure that infected persons, their family members and close contacts receive the required care and support.
In addition, Dr. Tufton informed that an intense cleaning and sanitisation exercise has been completed in all buildings, identified as having individuals, who have tested positive.
Meanwhile, he said that the Ministry has started to improve its staff welfare protocol, which will be communicated to key stakeholders.
It will address the care of team members, including those on the front-lines, who may be vulnerable to COVID-19, among other things.
Dr. Tufton noted that public health officials are at higher risk of being affected by the virus, and they will be given “absolute care and support”.
As of Wednesday, Jamaica had 252 confirmed cases of COVID-19.