New more stringent COVID-19 containment measures working – Bisasor McKenzie

Jamaica’s Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr. Jacquiline Bisasor-Mckenzie has said that the country is reaping the rewards of the more stringent COVID-19 containment measures announced by Prime Minister Andrew Holness on August 19.

However, Bisasor-Mckenzie said the third wave could last in excess of two months, depending on various factors including the detection of new variant strains as well as the behaviour of individuals within the society.

“In terms of bed occupancy, extremely high pressure as we have indicated. Seven day positivity rate is trending down but still at a very high level of transmission. Our reproductive rate it’s showing a positive trend in that it is going down. But we still have a low level of vaccination,” said Bisasor –McKenzie.

Pointing to data collected from previous waves Bisasor-McKenzie anticipates that it could take a while for Jamaica to reverse the trend of high levels of community transmission.

“The first wave took about 82 days overall with a peak at about day 25. And it took about double that 25 days in order for us to get back down to low levels. So it took about two months to get back to the low level of transmission. The second surge lasted for about 140 days, with the peak at about the 61st to 64th day. And again, it took about two months for us to get back down to a level below 10%. Now the third peak is higher -it’s higher than the second peak. And so I think the the best the best bet at this time is that it will take about at least two months,” Bisasor -McKenzie added.

However, Bisasor-McKenzie said new variants could impact the country’s ability to get down to lower transmission levels.

“Any projection is going, in terms of how long, is going to be based on the variants that are in circulation. Delta is very, very transmissible. And so that can change how long we take to go down,” said Bisasor-McKenzie.

“It’s also dependent on the measures we have in place. We have seen that the restrictions put in place and we have seen a decrease in the reproductive rate. We have seen a decrease in the positivity rate. It is dependent on us maintaining some of these restrictions, as well as, how it is that we follow the protocols,” added Bisasor McKenzie.