Westmoreland Health Department to conduct COVID-19 screening

The Westmoreland Health Department will continue its strategic coronavirus (COVID-19) intervention activities today Monday with surveillance and testing in Grange Hill to curtail the spread of the virus.

The free COVID-19 screening exercise will be held at Gordon Hall, located on the Holy Trinity Anglican Church grounds between 10:00 am and 3:00 pm.

Speaking in an interview with JIS News, Health Promotion and Education Officer, Gerald Miller urged residents of Grange Hill to take advantage of the free COVID-19 testing, whether or not they have symptoms of the virus.

“We are appealing to persons in the Grange Hill area to come out Monday to be screened for COVID-19, because the COVID [numbers] are trending in a negative direction in the Grange Hill and the Little London Area,” he said.

Miller informed that the results will be ready within three days of testing.

This is the third COVID-19 screening activity to be conducted by the health department within the past two weeks, as data coming out of the Ministry of Health and Wellness indicate that the number of reported COVID- 19 cases in Westmoreland have been increasing.

The first community surveillance was held in Savanna-La-Mar on November 21, while another was carried out on November 27 in Little London.

The Health Promotion and Education officer informed that response from the public in both communities was “overwhelming”

Miller reported that 104 people were tested in Savana-La-Mar, of which 14 have been identified as COVID-19 positive. Some 102 residents turned up for screening in Little London and are awaiting their results.

“Of the persons who were screened on November 21, 14 persons came back positive and some of these persons were not symptomatic, which is the issue that we want persons to be mindful of that not everybody who has COVID-19 is going be symptomatic,” Miller stated.

“We want persons to know that the social distancing, the wearing of the mask and the frequent sanitizing of hands must become the norm for us because you don’t know who has COVID-19,” he asserted.

He pointed out that the health department aims to limit the spread of the virus by identifying as many infected people as possible through community screening, and taking action to break chains of transmission.

“We have been viewing a map which is being generated by the epidemiologist at the Western Regional Health Authority, which we use to guide our intervention. Little London is one of the hotspots which has the most active cases and Grange Hill, so what we have done is target those areas for the screening,” he explained.

Miller further implored residents, in particular those residing in hotspot communities, to remain vigilant in the fight against COVID-19 and to desist from the practice of hosting illegal parties, which is a driving force in the increase in cases.

“Pay attention to the protocols and cut out the parties. We are having too many of these parties all over the place,” he said.

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