Jamaica: St Catherine Residents Shun COVID Testing

The community surveillance and testing for COVID-19 by the Ministry of Health and Wellness has been receiving moderate response from residents in St Catherine.

With some 14 communities visited so far, Marlene Stephenson, senior public health nurse for the parish, told The Gleaner that this response is not what they were expecting.

“Persons are not coming out because of stigma. Some say they are afraid of putting the swab up their nostrils because of a belief that they will contract the virus just by swabing their nose,” Stephenson revealed.

“Other persons are refusing on the basis that they have to take care of their family, and if they test positive, there is no one to care for their family when they have to isolate,” she continued.

According to Stephenson, another challenge the health team encountered is a strong view expressed by some residents that they would rather not know their status, and if they have any suspicions, they would use home treatment.


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