Effective immediately, public hospitals islandwide will be restricted to conducting emergency case services only, according to the Ministry of Health and Wellness.
This comes as the public health facilities register continued increases in confirmed and suspected cases of COVID-19 infections that require hospitalisations which have caused the facilities to exceed their isolation capacity.
Commenting on the crisis in a statement from the ministry, Chief Medical Officer, Dr Jacquiline BisasorMcKenzie said: “Most hospitals are over the capacity of beds designated for COVID-19 management. As such, general hospital beds are being used for COVID-19 care. The rising demand for oxygen also threatens to overwhelm the supply.”
The ministry said hospitals will also suspend elective surgeries and begin discharging patients who can receive home care.
Meanwhile, members of the public are being asked to refrain from visiting emergency departments except in cases warranting serious medical attention.
“We encourage persons to be compliant with their medications and to avoid being on the roads to avoid traffic accidents as hospitals will be constrained to deal with these kinds of emergencies,” the CMO continued.
Up to Thursday, August 26, a record 739 positive COVID-19 patients were in hospital, of which 189 were moderately ill, 92 severely ill and 61 critically ill. There were another 320 patients suspected to have COVID-19 under hospital care.
The ministry continues to encourage Jamaicans to get vaccinated and follow the infection prevention and control measures.