Early this morning, the Ministry of Health and Wellness informed us that two more communities in the eastern parish of St. Thomas have been placed under quarantine: one is the rather pleasant rural area of Albion, on the way to Yallahs. There is a gated community there, called Albion Estate. The other community is Seaforth, where there is a high school and quite a busy community. Please see the Ministry’s release below:
More St. Thomas communities under quarantine
KINGSTON, Jamaica. Thursday, August 20, 2020. With the continued increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in St. Thomas, the decision has been taken to put additional communities within the parish under quarantine.
The communities are Albion and Seaforth that have seen 13 cases over the last three weeks. Many of the cases are symptomatic, which is a cause for concern and suggests that there may be ongoing transmission in the communities. Community surveillance will be carried out over the next two weeks to detect early any new cases and to implement appropriate measures to contain spread within the parish.
The quarantine period, which began at 5:00 am today (Thursday, August 20, 2020), will run for 14 days, ending Thursday, September 3.
The other communities in the parish now under quarantine, namely Bamboo River, Church Corner and Lower Summit, will remain under quarantine until September 2.
Based on test results received, the Ministry of Health and Wellness can now report that some 107 persons have been identified as being positive for COVID-19 in the parish. Forty-five (45) of that number are within the quarantine areas.
The Ministry of Health and Wellness is reminding members of the public to strictly adhere to prescribed COVID-19 prevention and control measures, including the frequent washing of hands, maintaining a six-feet physical distance from others and wearing a mask while out in public.
It is also critical that visitors and returning residents to the island abide by quarantine orders, in the effort to slow the transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19.
Meanwhile, a number of companies and government offices in Kingston have temporarily closed their office for deep cleaning exercises, after employees have tested positive for the virus. This includes (today) Petrojam and the Jamaica Defense Force, where apparently four soldiers have tested positive. National Commercial Bank (NCB) has just this evening confirmed its first positive case.
The Jamaica Tax office is particularly worried and put out a notice yesterday regarding visitors to their offices, having closed two locations in downtown Kingston. A number of recently returned citizens have been visiting their offices, clearly not abiding by their quarantine restrictions, Jamaica Tax reported. The numbers have become such that if they identify these transgressors they deny them service, ask them to leave the premises, and inform law enforcement that they are in breach of quarantine orders. Jamaica Tax is also reminding customers that they can conduct several transactions online (isn’t this the “new normal,” people? Come on!)
Then there are the schools, projected to reopen on September 7, four days after Election Day. Education Minister Karl Samuda says that unless there is a dramatic spike in numbers, it’s all systems go.
As we know only too well by now, COVID-19 protocols continue to be either deliberately or unknowingly flouted by many. The chaos of Nomination Day was a classic example, with the usual unruly behavior, crowding, reckless driving and minimal mask-wearing the order of the day. So, two weeks from Tuesday, August 18 takes us up to…Election Day. Let’s see how those who ignored social distancing are feeling by then.
Meanwhile, Tropical Depression Fourteen is hovering near us and bringing huge amounts of rain and the occasional thunderstorm. It has hardly stopped for the past 24 hours. As they say, if it doesn’t rain it pours!
The Ministry of Health and Wellness will hold its weekly press briefing in about half an hour. Let us see how things go.