Health, Local Gov’t Ministries Uncover COVID-19 Cluster in Senior Citizens’ Home

As a member of and volunteer for the Caribbean Community of Retired Persons (CCRP), the non-governmental organization that advocates for the needs of our senior citizens, I have regularly asked about the condition of care homes in Jamaica at the weekly COVID-19 briefings with the Ministry of Health and Wellness. I have been assured that these are being regularly monitored. The Golden Age Home in Vineyard Town, Kingston, is government-owned but there are many unregistered private care homes.

This is very worrying news. Were they not observing COVID-19 protocols? These are our most vulnerable citizens.

Minister of Health and Wellness Dr. Christopher Tufton and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jacqueline Bisasor-McKenzie speaking at a regular press briefing.

Health, Local Gov’t Ministries Uncover COVID-19 Cluster in Senior Citizens’ Home

KINGSTON, Jamaica. Tuesday, October 20, 2020. The Ministry of Health & Wellness, with the support of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, is conducting expedited testing for COVID-19 at the Golden Age Home in Vineyard Town, Kingston.

This follows the discovery of a cluster of cases at the facility. The cluster was uncovered as part of the Health Ministry’s ongoing islandwide surveillance of senior citizens’ homes and infirmaries.

Forty-three (43) of 72 samples taken from residents and staff at the facility have so far returned a positive result. The testing of all 428 residents and 162 staff members is expected to be completed in the next two to three days.

In the meantime, Emergency Management Protocols have been triggered at the facility, with those having tested positive being put in isolation while others are put into quarantine pending the outcome of their results.

Further, all residents and staff are to be monitored closely even as the section of the facility from where the initial positive tests have come is managed with enhanced infection prevention and control procedures.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness will also be providing support to review and strengthen the infection prevention and control measures at the home and to review the protocols to increase the surveillance and monitoring of all such facilities to reduce transmission among the vulnerable population,” noted Minister of Health & Wellness, Dr. Christopher Tufton.

Both ministries have also identified a team of caregivers to provide the necessary care for the residents at the home.

Our most vulnerable citizens: a Christmas treat at the Golden Age Home in Vineyard Town a few years back. (My photo)

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