COVID-19 in 75 per cent of communities, says Jamaica’s CMO

Kingston – Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr Jacquiline Bisasor-McKenzie, is reporting that the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) is now in 75 per cent of communities across the island, with 828 hospital admissions.

Addressing a recent COVID Conversations Digital Press Conference, the CMO said over the past two weeks the number of deaths has been climbing and warned that persons should not regard the Omicron variant of the virus as only “mild”, as “it still causes severe illness”.

She noted that the Delta variant might be among the population, and with 95 per cent of people on COVID-19 beds unvaccinated, there is a need for an increase in the rate of vaccination.

“This certainly means that persons need to get vaccinated, because vaccination will prevent severe illness, decreases hospitalisations, and will decrease the number of persons with poor outcomes,” the CMO said.

She said an increase of the virus is identified in women with late pregnancies, and those who have just given birth.

“This is not good, because when they are infected at that period, they tend to develop severe COVID,” Bisasor-McKenzie said.

The CMO noted that a new trend is taking place with all the paediatric wards now being challenged with children suffering from the disease, adding that the hospitals have to go into “emergency only” mode, because COVID-19 patients are occupying beds designated for other illnesses.

“The number of seriously ill persons is increasing, with the critically ill increasing, and a sharp uptick of severely ill persons,” she said, pointing out that this increases demand for oxygen, beds and medical staff at the hospitals.

Bisasor-McKenzie noted that the younger adults are getting more exposed to the virus and being infected, and given the number of severe illnesses among the older population, a number of them will die. (CMC)

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