MAN DENIES COVID-19 CLAIM

MAN DENIES COVID-19 CLAIM

Individual accused of infecting people in St Thomas with virus fears for his family’s safety

BY ALPHEA SAUNDERS
Senior staff reporter
saundersa@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, August 17, 2020

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The young man many have fingered as the individual who spread COVID-19 in a St Thomas community recently has stepped forward to flatly deny the claim.

Earlier reports linked the young man to the spread, with allegations swirling that he had gone to the eastern Jamaica parish for seek spiritual healing from the virus, but had only succeeded in passing the disease on to others, forcing the Government to place the Church Corner community of St Thomas Eastern under quarantine.

The man is disputing the reports carried across media, which quotes Ministry of Health and Wellness officials as saying that a St Catherine resident who was COVID-19 positive went to the parish seeking to have healing hands laid on him, and instead sparked the spread.

The man said he resides in St Catherine but is originally from St Thomas where his parents still live.

He said he spent the weekend of July 31 to August 2 there and attended the church in question but not under the circumstances reported. He insists that he was not ill at the time.

He said widespread media reports pointing to him as the source of transmission has led accusations directly back to him and his family and that their lives are now in danger with people threatening to harm them.

“Right now I can’t even go back to St Thomas, my life is being threatened because they’re saying that the *****man come infect the people and if we see him or buck him anywhere we have to get rid of him,” he said.

According to the ministry, an individual originating from St Catherine with symptoms travelled to St Thomas to visit family, went to church and based on the contact tracing information “was prayed for by the congregation, and that led to a case of members of the congregation, friends who they visited and relatives being infected by the virus”.

The young man said there is no mistake that he is the individual being referred to, but has strongly denied this account of the events. “I went there the Friday before the outbreak that was reported, because I was working in the parish and because I had a church service to attend on the Sunday.

I stayed at my parents’ house, and on the Sunday I went to church and then the Monday I got ill. I went to the doctor and they gave me Panadol and they said I should return the Tuesday. I did the COVID test and was sent back home,” he told the Jamaica Observer.

He said he was told three days later that he had tested positive and was then admitted to a medical facility in St Catherine.

He also now has serious questions as to whether he was even positive as he is yet to see test results after being in hospital for two weeks.

According to him, he was discharged without the required repeat negative tests clearing him of the virus. Furthermore, he said his flu-like symptoms started on the Monday after his weekend in St Thomas and lasted a maximum of two days.

“I requested a copy [of the test results] and up until now I can’t see it to confirm that yes I was positive, because I’m asthmatic and I have a heart condition, and they say the virus attacks the respiratory system.

They say you have to have two negative tests before you can be released and none of that has happened, but I was released without medication, swab, nothing,” he claimed. He said he was released on Tuesday and is now quarantined at home until he is cleared to go about normal activities.

He is adamant that the people who are said to be infected in the community had the virus transmitted to them by some other means. “I don’t know where that information came from,” he said. The Church Corner area comprising Summit Grove and Bamboo River was placed under quarantine for 14 days starting August 6 after 28 positive COVID-19 cases were recorded over four days.

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