KINGSTON, March 20, 2020 - The community of Corn Piece in the parish of Clarendon is now under quarantine for 14 days.This is the word from Prime Minister Holness as he made his presentation in the 2020/2021 Budget Debate in Parliament last night.
The community was quarantined following the first reported death as a result of COVID-19 – a man who is believed to have travelled to Jamaica from New York on a JetBlue flight 2959 on March 12.
The patient - a 79 year old who had travelled from New York on March 12 - died on Wednesday, March 18, the same day his test came back positive for the coronavirus.
He had travelled on Jet Blue flight #2959 that arived in Jamaica at 12 a.m.
His wife, son and grandson, with whom he travelled, have been placed in quarantine.
It is reported that the victim had also received visits from members of several other households in the Corn Piece community at a time when he would have been most infectious.
When his illness exacerbated, he presented at Lionel Town Hospital, was transferred to Mandeville Regional Hospital, but died before being transported to the University Hospital of the West Indies.
The Health Ministry said he was diabetic and hypertensive and therefore at higher risk of dying from the coronavirus.
According to Prime Minister Holness, the quarantine is to facilitate investigations that could lead to early detection of symptoms and prevention of transmission of the deadly COVID-19.
“It is critical that they are monitored closely within the next fourteen (14) days. Early detection of symptoms will allow for early isolation and prevention of transmission of the virus. At this time, we are unsure of the number of persons in the community that have been so exposed, and require that the community and the family comply with the quarantine order to conduct the necessary contact tracing and investigations,” said Prime Minister Holness.
Further to the Prime Minister’s announcement, he said the quarantine is necessary as a result of the reluctance of residents within the community to self-quarantine or to get tested. However, the Prime Minister noted that he understands the fears of some persons.
“This is all new for the people of Corn Piece. This is all new, they are traumatized at the passing of their loved one but the Jamaican state cannot run any risk with this disease. This is precisely how the disease enters into the rapid increase phase because of human failure,” said Prime Minister Holness.
In the meantime, Prime Minister Holness appealed to the public to do their part in fighting the novel COVID-19.
“I’m appealing to all Jamaican’s, we are not sentencing anybody, we are not taking away your liberty, you are not going to be abused but this is for your own benefit. I’m appealing, appealing to all Jamaicans, you have to play your part,” stated Prime Minister Holness.
And while the community of Corn Piece is under quarantine, Prime Minister Holness assured residence that over 1500 food packages are ready and will be dispatched in short order.
Earlier, the Prime Minister announced in his Budget presentation that all Members of Parliament will receive an additional $2 million from the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) towards the fight against COVID-19.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister announced that there are now 39 people in isolation at hospitals across the country; 25 quarantined in government facilities; and 99 in home quarantine.
Of the 166 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 11 are imported while five are contacts of Patient 1.
Of the 11 imported cases, six are Jamaicans.
Mr. Holness said 80 tests have so far been conducted with a 20 per cent yield of persons who tested positive for COVID-19.
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