In parliament yesterday, Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced that the government will allocate a fixed number of beds in the health care system for covid-19 patients.
He said the government can longer give preferential treatment to the unvaccinated as those who urgently need care are not getting the chance because of covid-19 patients.
“The Government will ultimately have no choice but to allocate a finite set of resources to managing COVID-19-related hospitalisations, including a fixed number of beds. We cannot continue to dedicate virtually the entire capacity of the health system to dealing only with COVID-19 to the detriment of other health system users,” said the prime minister.
The government sees this as the right time to implement this measure as covid-19 hospitalizations have declined significantly from the peak hospitalizations of 1269 on September 12, 2021. The current hospitalisations are under 400 patients which is below the capacity of approximately 800.
However, the prime minister said 98.5% of patients currently in the hospitals are unvaccinated and urges Jamaicans to take the vaccine as the government can no longer allocate most of its resources to the unvaccinated. Only 17.1% of the eligible population has been fully vaccinated.
But even though the positivity rate in the hospitals is high, the general public’s positivity rate has declined significantly from its peak of 45.2% at the end of August 2021 to approximately 7%.
Despite the positivity rate being low, the prime minister predicts that a fourth wave of the virus is expected to affect the country in early January. Holness said the government is preparing to deal with this wave when it appears in the country.