The Ministry of Health and Wellness’ National Surveillance Unit has advised that 45 samples tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 24 hours. This has brought the total number of confirmed cases in the island to 350.

The 45 new cases are comprised of 19 males and 26 females, ranging in age from one year to 75 years.

Eleven of the 45 new cases are employees of a workplace cluster in St Catherine, 14 are contacts of a confirmed positive employee of the workplace cluster, 10 are contacts of a confirmed case, and 10 are under investigation.

One hundred and seventy eight of the 350 confirmed cases are employees of the workplace cluster in St Catherine.

Overall, Jamaica now has 34 imported cases; nine cases that are local transmission with no epidemiological link; 178 are local transmission cases related to the workplace cluster; 94 are contacts of confirmed cases, and 35 cases are under investigation.

A total of 395 samples were tested within the last 24 hours at the National Influenza Centre and the National Public Health Laboratory, bringing the total number samples tested to 3,262, with 350 positive, 2,890 negative, and 22 sample results pending.

There are now 321 persons in isolation and 91 in quarantine at a Government facility.

Seven persons have died from the virus, while 28 patients have recovered.

In the meantime, an investigation has been launched by the ministry into the death of Jodian Fearon, a 26-year-old mother of a new-born baby, under controversial circumstances in hospital on Saturday.

Jodian Fearon

Fearon was reportedly transferred from or refused admission to a number of Corporate Area hospitals, including the one where she had made arrangements to have her child, and ended up giving birth at the Spanish Town Hospital before being again transferred, all supposedly because she was exhibiting flu-like symptoms which are associated with the dreaded coronavirus (COVID-19) locally.

In response, Prime Minister Andrew Holness has expressed regret at the development and indicated that an investigation is being done at the direction of Health and Wellness Minister, Dr Christopher Tufton, who has also weighed in on the matter.

Dr Christopher Tufton

According to Tufton, “We wish to express our deepest condolences and regret to the family and friends at the passing of a young lad, who recently gave birth at the Spanish Town Hospital.  I have asked for a thorough investigation to be done and as soon as the report becomes available, we will make this information known to the public. I have also asked that the protocols surrounding admission of patients, including those who are suspected COVID-19 patients, to be reviewed, and for health personnel to be re-sensitised.

“In the meantime, we will give the necessary support to the new-born child, who remains stable and in hospital.

We are also making counselling services available to the family members and those who are (most) impacted by this loss,” Tufton added.

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