Manchester health authority ready to ramp up efforts, if needed

Manchester health authority ready to ramp up efforts, if needed

Municipal building closed following mayor’s positive test result

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

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MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Dr Nadine Williams, the medical officer of health for Manchester, says the health authority here is prepared for the expected spike in novel coronavirus cases.

“We are as prepared as can be. We have had quite a bit of time to get ourselves in a position where we can handle the increase that we were expecting, in terms of staff being trained and our testing capacity. Also, we have not had the need to utilise all members of the team, in terms of the contact tracing,” she told the Jamaica Observer by telephone yesterday.

The medical officer disclosed that as the number of cases increase, there will be more contact tracing.

“… We can pull on the resources from the other areas [and] other team members to bolster that area, in terms of resources — manpower, so we haven’t reached to the point yet where we are feeling like we are overwhelmed. We just know that as the cases increase, we just have to pull persons from other areas to assist [in contact tracing],” Dr Williams said.

Admitting that the health authority does not know what things will be like in another week, she said the team has the capacity to ramp up its efforts as it relates to contact tracing and monitoring of cases.

“But nobody knows what is going to happen in another month or so,” she added.

Up to press time yesterday morning, Manchester had recorded 41 COVID-19 cases. Nine of the cases are active while one resulted in the death of a 69-year-old woman.

There is, however, unease among some People’s National Party supporters and individuals who would have come in contact with Mandeville Mayor Donovan Mitchell, who has tested positive for the virus.

Yesterday, when the Observer checked the local municipality, a guard was seen securing the gate at the entrance to the facility. The building is closed and is expected to be sanitised and deep-cleaned.

Peter Bunting, who is representing the Opposition People’s National Party and is seeking a fourth-consecutive term as Member of Parliament for Manchester Central in the September 3 Parliamentary Election, is in self-quarantine after contact with Mitchell. The latter was part of Bunting’s team on Nomination Day, August 18.

Bunting is awaiting the results of his novel coronavirus test.

— Kasey Williams

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