Jamaica: COVID-19 patients not sick enough can recover at home, says minister

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Jamaica: COVID-19 patients not sick enough can recover at home, says minister
Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton - File photo
Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton – File photo

(JAMAICA OBSERVER) – MINISTER of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton says Jamaica could be moving to a phase of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in which many people will not be sick enough to be hospitalised.

He said that where patients need to be in hospitals they will get the care, adding that fear has caused the population to believe that the illness is more detrimental than it is, and there is evidence to show that the majority of individuals who have the virus can be cared for outside of a confined medical facility.

“As we get towards that phase, and we’ve always said we would get there, people are going to have the virus and are not sufficiently ill to require hospital care. We have to condition the minds of the population to accept and recognise that ill persons can recover at their homes,” the minister told a virtual meeting of the special select committee of Parliament on COVID-19, yesterday.

Dr Tufton pointed out that where a patient is not required to be in hospital, he or she has the alternative of being quarantined or isolated at home, and to take “normal treatment, and get over the virus”.

The minister told the meeting that the decision on whether an ill person is placed in a facility rests on the assessment of the clinical personnel who conduct the interviews and the risks posed by particular individuals.

The short history of the virus, and the approach to treatment is going to require more home care than hospital care, so we need to sensitise the public to understand that it will become the norm over time as the virus spreads,” Dr Tufton noted.

Meanwhile, the health ministry has advised that the quarantine orders for all employees of the Portmore, St Catherine-based Alorica call centre remain in effect, and they should remain at home until contacted by the St Catherine Health Department, even if the 14-day period of quarantine has expired.

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