Jamaica: Virus Terror – Hunt On For Volunteers As Healthcare Workers Shy Away From Testing Persons

The Ministry of Health and Wellness is looking for volunteers to carry out testing for COVID-19 as a senior health official told a parliamentary committee yesterday that healthcare workers have expressed fear in conducting the procedure.

“If we get volunteers to actually do the testing … then we (could) enhance the testing at the health facilities,” Dr Karen Webster-Kerr, national epidemiologist, told members of the Special Select Committee discussing issues related to COVID-19 and its impact on the country.

The widely used method to test for COVID-19 is the swabbing of the nose or back of a person’s throat.

“So even if persons want to be tested, they are feared by the healthcare workers,” the epidemiologist said, adding that very few healthcare workers are conducting the tests.

She told the committee that the ministry was seeking to address the issue by conducting continued training of health staff.

Webster-Kerr said that at present, the country had the capacity to conduct 1,260 tests weekly. She revealed yesterday that 153 tests had been conducted this week but noted that the ministry would like to reach a target of at least 250. “We are getting them but not as much as we hope,” she noted.


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