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Westmoreland records surge in COVID-19 cases

Published:Friday | February 10, 2023 | 1:28 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer
Dr Michelle Sterling-Mills.
Dr Michelle Sterling-Mills.


With some 50 new cases of the coronavirus detected in the parish since the start of the year, the Westmoreland Health Department is urging the public to step up their efforts at protecting themselves from being infected.

“Westmoreland now has 8,432 confirmed cases, with 50 new cases added in January alone, 27 of those cases were diagnosed in the last week of January,” Dr Michelle Sterling-Mills, a medical officer with Westmoreland Health Services, revealed Thursday, during a meeting of the Westmoreland Municipal Corporation.

She said that as the community transmission of the virus continues, there is a greater need for people to practise preventative measures, which include the frequent washing of hands, the need to practise cough etiquette and where possible to practise physical distancing, and including the proper wearing of masks.

With a population of approximately 144,000, Dr Sterling-Mills noted further that only 25 per cent or 36,000 people are fully vaccinated. Given that low take-up, she has also urged those not yet vaccinated to do so as part of measures to prevent infection that can lead to deaths.

She said that up to January 30, Jamaica had recorded 153,629 COVID-19 cases with 3,484 deaths and a weekly positivity rate of 18.1 per cent. She noted that the positivity rate had risen from six per cent at the start of January.

In Westmoreland, of 379 deaths, 274 were confirmed as directly Covid-19-related, while 17 were considered coincidental. Among the 31 active cases of the virus, 12 of them are children of ages 13 years and younger.

Two children and five unvaccinated adults are among the seven people with the Covid-19 now admitted to Westmoreland Public General Hospital.

The medical officer noted that the outbreak of the new strain of the coronavirus continues to affect countries in the western pacific region and the Americas, as part of the sixth wave of the virus.

But, while the parish is confirmed to be experiencing a sizeable surge in the number of COVID-19 cases, Dr Sterling-Mills has reassured that there are established measures to help fight the contagious virus.

“There is no need to panic, observing the protocols will take the panic out of the pandemic,” she noted.