COVID-19 Cases at Missionaries of the Poor in Downtown Kingston

This is not very encouraging news, breaking on this rainy Sunday night. 74 positive cases from 125 samples seems a very high positivity rate. Meanwhile, I have not heard any more news about the situation at Mustard Seed Communities, another faith-based organization serving extremely vulnerable Jamaicans – where there has also been an outbreak.

The Missionaries of the Poor.

UPDATE: The Jamaica Observer has reported that there are now 85 positive cases at three of the nine residential facilities operated by Missionaries of the Poor, founded by Father Richard Ho-Lung. How could this have happened – were no protocols observed? The Missionaries care for our most destitute and vulnerable citizens, the homeless, mentally and physically disabled, seniors and so on. This is absolutely tragic!

Health Ministry, Missionaries of the Poor partner to contain COVID-19 transmission at Faith Centre

KINGSTON, Jamaica. Sunday, November 1, 2020. The Ministry of Health & Wellness has identified a cluster of COVID-19 cases at a facility run by Missionaries of the Poor with which it is now working to contain the spread.

Seventy-four (74) positive cases have been identified at the Faith Centre, which has been offering care to Jamaicans in need since the 1980s. Of a total of 125 persons sampled, in addition to the 74 positives – six (6) of them staff members – there are 46 negatives while five results are pending.

The Ministry has since engaged the Missionaries of the Poor to put in place a range of measures to slow transmission at the facility. These measures include:
• adhering to the previous recommendation of no-one in and no one out;
• continuing restriction of movement between residences and the ministries;
• strict adherence to the no visitors policy;
• cohorting as much as possible;
• having dedicated staff and equipment for the different clusters at the facility;
• ensuring adequate supply of personal protective equipment; and
• the wearing of masks by staff and residents at all times.

Also, staff are not to attend work if they have any symptom of illness while current in-house staff will remain resident for another two weeks at a minimum. Further:
• meals will be served in disposable containers;
• residents with comorbidities will be monitored daily; and
• movement within clusters is now restricted.

Testing is ongoing at other facilities run by Missionaries of the Poor and a full report will be made available to the public as soon as that process is finalised.

“It remains vital that the people of Jamaica perform the various infection prevention and control measures. At no time should we become complacent as our national efforts continue to contain the spread of the virus,” said Minister of Health and Wellness Dr. Christopher Tufton.

“We must always wear our masks. We must frequently wash our hands. We must keep our physical distance from others,” the Minister added.

One of the facilities run by Missionaries of the Poor in downtown Kingston. (Photo: Naphtali Junior/Jamaica Gleaner)

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