Jamaica’s health authorities are pleased that all the coronavirus (COVID-19) indicators are trending in the right direction, but are still expressing reservations about the current status of the pandemic on the island.
Speaking on Thursday at the regular COVID-19 online press conference, Chief Medical Officer Dr Jacquiline Bisasor-McKenzie, said that in recent weeks, the number of confirmed cases, admissions, actually deaths, bed occupancy and reproductive rate are all trending down.
According to Bisasor-Mckenzie, however, while the figures are coming down from the second surge of COVID-19, which peaked in March, many of the indicators are still at the level of the first surge, which peaked in September.
She said that a major concern for the island’s health authority is the level of bed occupancy for COVID-19, which she said is currently at about 300 across the island. She said the island’s COVID-19 reserved bed capacity is approximately 150.
Bisasor-McKenzie said that although health authorities added beds during the recent surge, with bed occupancy at the level that it currently is, other areas of the health system are being stretched, such as human resources and supply.
“Although we would have quite a number of beds, up to over 700, that we would have had reserved as COVID-19 beds, only about 150 of those beds are really new beds and so utilisation of beds anywhere above that 150, puts the system under stress because it is taking up beds and resources that should really be used for general occupancy for other patients, other illnesses that present at hospitals.
“Even though we have come down to just about 300 over the last couple of days on average, in terms of bed occupied, we still need to get to half of that to be below the 150, where we would feel that the resources utilised, would not disrupt other services in the hospitals,” Bisasor-McKenzie said.