NOT TRUE: Tufton denies reports that healthcare workers have contracted coronavirus

Jamaica’s Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton is refuting reports which claimed that he had said there were some healthcare workers that had contracted the novel coronavirus.

Reports have surfaced tagging the Minister to comments made that suggested there have been COVID-19 cases involving healthcare workers, but they had not been tallied with the other cases.

However, the Minister has since denied the claim indicating that it’s not true and no frontline worker has contracted the contagious disease.

The current figure for Jamaica stands at 19 confirmed cases with one death and three communities quarantined to contain the spread.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness has since released a full statement. See below:

No Doctor, Nurse or Frontline Staff Test Positive for COVID-19

With reference to the Gleaner article published on Sunday, March 22, entitled “Doctors, Nurses Test positive for COVID-19”, we do acknowledge that an interview was given by the Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Honourable Christopher Tufton, MP.

During the interview with the Sunday Gleaner, a range of questions were posed and answers given on several matters including general testing of persons and frontline healthcare workers, and whether these tests were positive and included in the announced 19 cases.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness wishes to emphatically state that no doctor, nurse or any member of the frontline staff in the public health system or private practice in Jamaica has tested positive for COVID-19 and that there are no healthcare workers excluded from the count of positive cases in Jamaica.

Some members of the frontline staff have been in quarantine, due to exposure to COVID-19 cases in Jamaica, but all have tested negative and are serving the quarantine period of 14 days.

To safeguard our first responders, including nurses and doctors, Jamaica has established a protocol to randomly test our healthcare team for COVID-19 and those who may have unknowingly come in contact with a suspected COVID-19 case, they undergo the requisite quarantine and testing protocols.

At the same time, through the daily media briefings, press releases, interviews and snapshot dashboards, the Ministry has been fully transparent, as it relates to the number of persons tested for COVID-19, those in quarantine, isolation and the number of persons, who would have come to Jamaica from a country of interest.

As at Friday March 20, Jamaica has tested a total 89 cases at the National Influenza Centre, 19 cases have come back positive and 70 have been negative for COVID-19.