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Jamaica: Health workers told they may have to defer leave amid COVID surge

With the island in the midst of a surge in COVID-19 cases that has driven up infections and left all major hospitals over 100 per cent of their isolation capacity for confirmed and suspected cases of the virus, healthcare workers have been put on notice that they may have to forego their leave at this time.

“Hospitals across the island are seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases. In anticipation of further increases in bed occupancy, the regional health authorities have been advised to review and revise leave rosters to ensure that there is adequate staff coverage,” said Health and Wellness Minister, Dr Christopher Tufton, in a statement on Sunday evening.

“This measure, together with the resumption of vaccinations, is being implemented as the ministry activates its surge plan to cope with the third wave of COVID-19 now impacting the island,” added Tufton.

The minister stated that the country’s hospitals are under severe constraints and this is likely to have implications for elective or non-emergency medical procedures.

“The public will be updated in the days to come,” he said.

Jamaica registered 379 new COVID-19 infections and three deaths on Saturday. This has pushed the total number of infections to 54,859 since the island registered its first case of the respiratory illness on March 10, 2020. There have been 1,222 deaths relative to the virus since then.

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