The Government is seeking 600 rooms across the four health regions to be used as transitional houses for persons who are recovering from the coronavirus (COVID-19) and is appealing to the public for its assistance in identifying places that can be used.
Owners of hotels with available rooms or those that are no longer being used are encouraged to engage in discussions with the Government regarding the availability of the rooms that are needed for recovering patients, who have to be monitored for up to 30 days.
Two hundred rooms with bathrooms are needed in both the South East Regional Health Authority (Kingston and St. Andrew, St. Catherine and St. Thomas), and in the Southern Regional Health Authority (Manchester, Clarendon and St. Elizabeth), while 100 are needed in both the Western Regional Health Authority (Hanover, St. James, Westmoreland and Trelawny) and in the Northeast Regional Health Authority (St. Ann, Portland and St. Mary).
“…to release them, we have to achieve two negative tests. And until that time, you can’t release them in the general population”— Dr Christopher Tufton
Making the appeal at a press conference on March 23 at Jamaica House in St Andrew, Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. Christopher Tufton pointed out that the transitional houses are critical, as individuals who are recovering need to be relocated from the isolation wards to make space for newly infected persons who need critical care.
“We have patients now that we have treated in the hospitals, who are now recovering. They show no signs of illness, but to release them, we have to achieve two negative tests. And until that time, you can’t release them in the general population, because they’re classified as shedding, meaning that the virus is still active and can be spread,” the Minister said.
“But in the meantime, we’re holding them in an isolation ward in a hospital, which takes up space that others who are more critical could replace,” he said.
“We really do need these facilities to give support for those who are transitioning from overcoming the worst.”— Dr Christopher Tufton
The rooms, which would be set up as a transitional house or half-way house, Dr Tufton said, are, therefore, needed to allow the recovering patients to be isolated and to be given the appropriate care as they make their way to full recovery.
“So, we really do need these facilities to give support for those who are transitioning from overcoming the worst, to getting back to full normality. And, again, we ask the public for support,” the Minister said.