Jamaica’s ‘Patient 1’ recovers

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Jamaica’s ‘Patient 1’ recovers
Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton
Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton

(JAMAICA OBSERVER) — The first individual who tested positive for the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Jamaica is now free of the virus and has been released from isolation.

The woman, who came into the island from Britain for a funeral late February, and who was staying in Bull Bay, St Andrew, tested positive for the virus on March 10 and was placed into isolation.

Yesterday, Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton said the woman, whose name is being withheld, was among five people released from isolation over the past 48-hours, even as the island continues to see an increase in the number of positive cases.

“Jamaica has now recorded its 53rd confirmed case of COVID-19. This follows six new additions over the last 48-hours,” Tufton told a virtual media briefing yesterday afternoon.

“The new cases are a 58-year-old male from Manchester who is a contact of a confirmed case; a 57-year-old male from Kingston, who is a contact of a confirmed case; a 40-year-old male from Kingston, whose mode of transmission is currently under investigation; a 23-year-old male from Clarendon who is the contact of a confirmed case; a 42-year-old male from Clarendon, who has a travel history to the US; and a 22-year-old female from Clarendon, who is a contact of a confirmed case,” added Tufton.

He noted that since the first case on March 10, seven people who have tested positive for COVID-19 have now gone through the process and have been treated and released.

“I actually visited with the three released today at the University Hospital of the West Indies, with the medical team, including patient one. They are fully recovered and it was quite instructive. It was to discern from them the conditions of treatment, how satisfied they were, what suggestion they would make, because we are going through a learning curve.

“The report was generally very positive. They were very pleased with the medical staff; with the attention they got and I want to just really again place on record our appreciation for the efforts [of the medical staff],” added Tufton, as he underscored that the people who tested positive initially tested negative on two occasions before they were released.

The health minister urged Jamaicans to accept those who had tested positive and are now cleared as they return to their communities.

“The message in all of this is that we really still have the issue of discrimination and one of the messages that we were hoping to telecast…is that when they go back into their communities please treat them the very same way you would have treated them before them having this disease,” pleaded Tufton.

The death rate from COVID-19 around the world has varied by location, age of person infected, and the presence of underlying health conditions.

While most people who have tested positive for COVID-19 recover at home, some have needed hospitalisation to fight the virus.

Internationally, scientists have been unable to say for sure what the fatality rate of the coronavirus is, because they’re not certain how many people have become infected with the disease.

It has been reported that about 3.4 per cent of reported COVID-19 patients around the world have died, while in China, where the virus originated 2.3 per cent of those confirmed or suspected (based on symptoms and exposure) to have the virus died.

At press time yesterday 1,096,570 positive COVID-19 cases had been reported worldwide with 59,125 deaths and 228,351 people recovered.

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