A senior citizen who tested positive for COVID-19 and who was admitted to the isolation ward at the Savanna-la-Mar General Hospital is believed to have committed suicide after his body was found hanging from the roof.

The dead man has been identified as 85-year-old Festus Wright, of Geneva district in Grange Hill, Westmoreland. Reports are that Wright became distressed after he got the news that he had tested positive for the coronavirus but had not given any indication that he was contemplating suicide.

“After he got the news, it was clear that he was not happy and was seen talking to himself a lot,” a hospital source told The Gleaner.

“He never really looked sick, so it came as a surprise that he decided to end his life rather than to fight the disease.”

Superintendent Robert Gordon, commanding officer for the Westmoreland police, told The Gleaner that the death would be thoroughly investigated.

“Our investigators went to the hospital, and we have collected statements, which will be used to make a determination as to what happened,” he said.

Gordon urged senior citizens, whose vulnerability to the disease is exacerbated by underlying illnesses, to rigidly observe COVID-19 safety protocols and to stay home as much as possible.

Errol Greene, regional director of Western Regional Health Authority, confirmed that a COVID-19 patient had committed suicide at the Westmoreland hospital but did not reveal his identity.

“He [the patient] committed suicide, and so the relatives will just have to come and take the body,” said Greene. Whether there’s a post-mortem to be done, I don’t know if the doctor is going to order that. We will do our investigations.”

Westmoreland’s 117 confirmed cases of COVID-19 pale in comparison to regional neighbour St James, which has tallied 465.

Jamaica on Wednesday recorded four more COVID-19 deaths, pushing the tally to 111.

One other death is under investigation.

Those who have died are a 70-year-old woman from St Catherine; a 74-year-old woman from St Catherine; a 75-year-old man from St Elizabeth; and a 69-year-old-man from Westmoreland. Meanwhile, there were 73 new cases, with ages ranging from three to 87, pushing the total to 6,555, with 4,363 being active.

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