Medical Officer of Health for Westmoreland, Dr. Marcia Graham, says the recent surge in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the parish is mostly affecting the unvaccinated population.
Speaking at a weekly Health Talk Webinar on Sunday (September 5) hosted by President of the Westmoreland Chamber of Commerce, Moses Chybar, Dr. Graham said the Delta variant is contributing to the rapid spike in virus cases and mortality rate in the parish.
“Unfortunately, COVID-19 is deadly and the Delta variant is also helping to increase the mortality that we have been seeing. I think everyone… knows someone who has died from COVID-19, so it is now serious,” she said.
Up to Monday (September 6), the parish of Westmoreland recorded 4,266 confirmed cases of the virus and 189 deaths.
Dr. Graham informed that the health infrastructure in the parish continues to be overburdened by the increasing number of COVID-19-positive patients who require hospitalisation.
“We have 25 healthcare workers [who tested positive], so we are also impacted in more ways than one because we have an increase in workload for a diminishing number of hands on deck,” she noted.
Dr. Graham is again urging residents to take the COVID-19 vaccine, in order to help ease the burden on the health sector.
The Medical Officer of Health also noted that the risk of an adverse outcome from the virus is minimal for persons who are inoculated.
Meanwhile, she is encouraging persons who have been vaccinated to continue practising the COVID-19 protocols as stipulated by the Government.
Clinical Coordinator at the Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH), Delroy Fray, says that the vaccine is Jamaica’s “passport” out of the pandemic.
“I want to get that message across that our passport out of this pandemic, our passport into normal functioning within this country and in the world, is going to be dependent on taking the vaccine,” Dr. Fray said.
“Having the vaccine does not mean you cannot contract the virus; you can, but what it means is that your body is going to recognise the virus immediately, produce the antibodies so that you don’t get the adverse outcome, the hospitalisation, the intensive care admission and the death that comes from that. This is an absolutely important step that each and every one must take,” he underscored.
The Ministry of Health and Wellness says near 600,000 Jamaicans have been vaccinated.