The Ministry of Health and Wellness notes the continued increase in COVID-19 cases on the island and urges the public to remain vigilant and take precautions to protect themselves and others.
As of July 18, 2023, Jamaica has recorded a total of 155,705 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 3,588 related deaths. The 227 COVID-19 cases recorded in the past week represent a 290% increase over the previous week’s figures. The weekly positivity rate was 22.7%, increasing over the previous week.
Weekly visits to public health facilities for influenza-like illnesses have decreased in all age categories over the past month. However, over the same period, weekly admissions for lower respiratory tract infections (pneumonia) increased to 132. This number is higher than expected (100 to 120 admissions per week) levels. The increase in respiratory infections is due to COVID-19 and sporadic cases of influenza B and influenza A. The highly transmissible Omicron remains the dominant COVID-19 variant that is currently circulating in Jamaica and, in particular, the XBB.1.5 strain.
COVID-19 isolation and general hospital occupancy levels have also increased over the past week, with the Southern Regional Health Authority (SRHA), Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA) and Southeast Regional Health Authority (SERHA) reporting the highest occupancy. Currently, there are 120 patients in hospital isolation across the country. Of that number, 55 were confirmed positive, and 65 were suspected cases of COVID-19. There are currently 22 moderately ill and two severely ill patients. There are no critically ill patients in the hospital at this time.
All Jamaicans are advised to protect themselves by adhering to hand washing/sanitization. Also, pay attention to physical distancing, wearing masks and covering your cough and sneeze. At the same time, persons affected by COVID-19 are still expected to isolate themselves. Doing so reduces the spread of the virus.
The COVID-19 vaccines are available, and the Ministry encourages all eligible Jamaicans, especially the vulnerable populations to take the vaccine or a booster dose(s). Persons with comorbid conditions, the elderly, the young, pregnant women, and healthcare workers are vulnerable and are at high risk for severe illnesses associated with the virus.
Globally as of July 12, 2023, there have been 767,972,961 confirmed cases, including 6,950,655 deaths. The main variant that is currently circulating is Omicron – XBB.1.16 and XBB.1.5.