Public hospitals exceed COVID-19 bed capacity

The Department of Health and Wellness has reported that COVID-19 beds in public hospitals across the island are now full.

This comes as Jamaica continues to see daily increases in COVID-19 infections and associated hospital admissions.

In the week of January 14-20, the number of daily COVID-19 hospitalizations increased from 686 to 828. At the same time, the ministry’s latest figures show that of the 16,830 healthcare workers, 669, or about 4 percent, reported sick became COVID-19.

“I take this opportunity to wish all healthcare workers who are ill or otherwise affected by COVID-19 a speedy recovery. At the same time, Jamaicans must take personal responsibility to relieve the burden on the health system. Follow COVID-19 infection prevention and control measures – wash hands frequently, maintain a physical distance of two meters from others, wear a mask and get vaccinated. Take the necessary precautions to avoid going to the hospital, especially at this time,” said Health Minister Dr. Christopher Tufton at the Department’s COVID talk on Thursday.

On Monday (January 17), the ministry announced that from Wednesday, January 19, all public hospitals would limit their services to emergency care only. Currently, 14 hospitals are in the red alert zone of COVID-19 isolation capacity.

Of that number, nine hospitals — Savanna-la-mar, Port Maria, St. Ann’s Bay, Mandeville Regional, May Pen, Lionel Town, University Hospital and Spanish Town Hospitals — have exceeded 100 percent of their COVID-19 isolation. The remainder is at over 85 percent capacity, affecting the housing of COVID-19 patients.

In terms of overall capacity, five hospitals are in the red alert zone, meaning these facilities have exceeded 84 percent coverage. Another six hospitals are classified in the yellow alert zone with a capacity utilization of over 74 percent.

The Department of Health and Wellness continues to urge Jamaicans to get vaccinated against COVID-19 at any of over 250 access points across the island.

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