New report: The COVID-19 Long-Term Care situation in Jamaica

Rochelle Amour, Janelle N. Robinson & Ishtar Govia (Epidemiology Research Unit, Caribbean Institute for Health Research, The University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, Jamaica)

This report provides data on the progression of COVID-19 in Jamaica between March, when the first case was reported and May 2020. There was a sequence of early and decisive measures implemented to contain the spread while maintaining some economic activity, which is a necessary balance in developing countries.

As in other English-speaking Caribbean islands, Jamaica’s Long-Term Care system is highly fragmented and largely unregulated- no formal protocol on action to contain the spread of COVID-19 to or within care facilities has yet been issued or implemented, although some initial measures like deep cleaning and ban on visitors were taken in state-owned care facilities. On May 3rd, the Minister of Health and Wellness called for development of this protocol, along with updated legislation for the improved management and regulation of Long-Term Care facilities.

So far, Jamaica, which has a population of 2.73 million, has reported 552 reported cases, with 9 reported deaths and 211 reported recoveries. Due to a lack of information systems and regulations around care homes, it is uncertain whether any of the reported cases were linked to Long-Term Care facilities. COVID-19 has pushed Long-Term Care policy and legislation to the front burner in Jamaica and has highlighted the need for better advocacy and inclusion for formal and informal caregivers.

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