Jamaica health minister urges St. Ann business community to follow new workplace protocols

Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. Christopher Tufton, met with members of the St. Ann business community recently, to apprise them about the new workplace protocols, as the country experiences the community transmission phase of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The meeting, held via the Zoom platform, involved collaboration with the St. Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Under the new measures, businesses do not need to close their doors to facilitate deep cleaning activities in the event of a suspected case of exposure to COVID-19.

Addressing a press briefing following the discussions, Dr. Tufton said that the business operators were encouraged to adhere to the infection prevention and control measures in the workplace.

These include daily cleaning and frequent wiping of commonly used surfaces, the wearing of masks, physical distancing, installing hand sanitising and screening stations, and having isolation areas where necessary.

Dr. Tufton said that the objective is to ensure that business can continue “even while we take the necessary steps to minimise the impact of COVID-19”.

“That is the mission right now of the Ministry and the Government. We play our part and we also encourage others to play their part,” he noted.

Dr. Tufton said that all Jamaicans have an important role to play in helping to curtail the spread of COVID-19, particularly during the community transmission phase.

This phase is characterised by a significant increase in the number of COVID-19 cases and the virus can no longer be easily traced from one person to the other.

Dr. Tufton noted that the Government had ramped up preparations at hospitals in anticipation of an increased demand on health services, in order to ensure that persons, who need to be hospitalised can receive the necessary care.

“We had planned, over the many months in anticipation that this would happen, because this phase of the virus would have seen a point when you have a spike or a surge in the number of cases,” he pointed out.

Minister Tufton assured that the Government is committed to the fight against COVID-19 and is taking the increase in cases and related deaths “very seriously”.

He said that the Ministry will continue to sensitise Jamaicans “where ever you are, about what you need to do during this phase.”

For her part, Acting Medical Officer of Health for St. Ann, Dr. Tamika Henry, told journalists that the parish has 66 active cases of COVID – 19.

She encouraged citizens to follow the protocols in order to curtail the spread of the virus.

Following the press briefing, the Health Minister, along with community health aides from the St. Ann Public Health Department, handed out masks and pamphlets containing facts about COVID -19 to residents.