Tue | Mar 2, 2021

Missionaries make COVID appeal

Published:Tuesday | November 3, 2020 | 12:14 AMJonielle Daley/Gleaner Writer
A woman and a child walk by the Missionaries of the Poor-operated Faith Centre in Kingston, which has recorded 74 COVID-19 cases.
A woman and a child walk by the Missionaries of the Poor-operated Faith Centre in Kingston, which has recorded 74 COVID-19 cases.

The Father Richard Ho Lung-founded Missionaries of the Poor is appealing for assistance to acquire personal protective equipment (PPE) and other resources to fight the coronavirus outbreak at their facilities.

Secretary General Brother Roche Tulalian said the charity is desperately in need of masks and gowns as their supplies cannot suffice for all six facilities they operate. Disposable plates and utensils are also among their needs.

The Faith Centre which it operates, catering to mentally and physically challenged persons as well as elderly males, recorded 74 COVID-19 cases on Saturday, when 68 residents and six staff were confirmed with the coronavirus.

Brother Roche acknowledged that since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, it has been difficult getting the mentally and physically challenged residents to adhere to mask-wearing protocols and practise proper sanitisation.

“What we are doing right now is to let our brothers stay at the centre. Our workers are there already. For many weeks now, they have been there; they sleep there 24 hours,” said Brother Roche.

He explained that the workers have been staying at the facilities since March, when the virus was first detected in the island.

“They are trying to help us with some things like garbage bags to separate the used PPE and an oxygenator,” Brother Roche said of the health ministry’s efforts to assist since the outbreak. He said the oxygenator was provided given that most of the residents are considered vulnerable based on age and pre-existing co-morbidities.

Testing at other facilities

The island’s total COVID-19 cases stood at 9,257 up to Sunday, according to the health ministry. There have been 210 confirmed COVID-19 deaths with 30 others under investigation and another 16 ruled coincidental.

The outbreak at the North Street, Kingston-based Faith Centre has prompted COVID-19 testing at other Missionaries of the Poor facilities.

The Bethlehem Home, which caters to children with illness and disabilities, recorded one positive case. Of the 50 residents that were tested, six results are pending. All five staff were tested negative.

So far, Lord’s Place has had no confirmed case among the 76 residents tested. However, the results for of all nine staff are pending.

Both facilities are located on Higholborn Street in Kingston and all positive cases at the charity’s facilities remain asymptomatic.

Testing at Mount Tabor in Golden Spring was scheduled to be conducted yesterday and testing is under way for Jacob’s Well on Hanover Street in Kingston, which houses physically and mentally disabled children, and at Holy Innocents for distressed mothers and their babies.

The no-visitor policy for long-term care facilities and the stay-at-home order for persons 65 years and above remain in effect.

jonielle.daley@gleanerjm.com