Principal Advisory 2
I trust that you and your families are doing well amid this COVID-19 outbreak.
The March 13 announcement of six (6) additional confirmed COVID-19 cases and the resultant quarantining of communities in the Seven to Eight Miles area of Bull Bay, in addition to the Prime Minister’s declaration of Jamaica as a Disaster Area, would have no doubt occasioned increased anxiety for you but we continue to encourage you to remain calm and to take the necessary precautions to safeguard yourselves and your families.
According to the World Health Organization’s Situation Dashboard and the Jamaica Observer, as of today, a total of forty-four (44) COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in the Caribbean as follows:
|Martinique||6||St. Vincent and the Grenadines||1|
|Cuba||4||The Cayman Islands||1|
|Puerto Rico||3||Antigua and Barbuda||1|
|Trinidad & Tobago||2||St. Lucia||1|
The ever-evolving nature of the COVID-19 situation, requires dynamic responses and as such, we will continue to monitor the situation closely and to continuously evaluate and re-evaluate our emergency plans, guided by national imperatives and advisories, to provide timely and appropriate responses to same. We will also continue to apprise you of any relevant changes as the situation progresses.
As part of the College’s mechanism to mitigate the spread of the virus within our campus community, we have restricted access to the campus to better monitor the activities on the ground and to facilitate containment within the varied spaces. The Halls of Residence are therefore out of bounds to visitors and the residents are subject to the observance of mutually agreed protocols that govern their navigation of the space as well as the nature of their operations. With respect to personnel required by Senior Management to be on campus, a formal notice of same will be communicated to the Director of Assets and Facilities Management, who will then notify the Security team of this provision. Access to the campus otherwise will only be granted for emergency purposes and thus requires special permission to do so. In accordance, persons who are granted this benefit are expected to adhere to the instituted protocols which include a formal request to the Vice Principal of Administration and Resource Management, outlining the reasons they need to access the campus. She will assess the case and where the situation is deemed an emergency, the Director of Assets and Facilities Management will be apprised, who will then communicate your name and the nature of the request to the Security team. Arrangements will also be made for the security guard to accompany the personnel to the space at a particular time and for a limited period only.
Please note also that pending the full restoration of activities at the College, there are some operational services that require attention which cannot be undertaken remotely. This includes but is not limited to the maintenance of the environment, considering the current crisis and the payment of staff. And on the subject of payment, I would like to make special mention of Finance and Accounts who have committed themselves to processing of payrolls. Your efforts are truly appreciated. With respect to other activities identified as essential services, staff please be psychologically attuned to the possibility of coming in to address same. Where applicable, the respective managers will be contacted to organize and facilitate same.
Until the situation may be better controlled, we continue to encourage you to adhere to the best practices and protective measures previously shared, including the frequent washing and sanitization of your hands. The proper techniques for same may be referenced in the attached posters.
In addition, if you or someone you know exhibits flu-like symptoms that you believe requires medical attention, the following steps are recommended:
- a)Isolate yourself or encourage the individual to remain isolated.
- b)If you or the individual intends to visit a medical health facility, it is recommended that a call is made prior, to inform the health care provider of the symptoms being experienced so that the necessary preparations may be made for your/their reception or so that they may redirect you to the appropriate health facility.
- c)Know that the Ministry of Health and Wellness has protocols for suspected COVID-19 cases. As such, if the case is within the Kingston/St. Andrew area, you are encouraged to contact the Kingston & St. Andrew Health Facilities, located at 1A Caledonia Crescent, or by phone at (876) 926-1550-2. A public health nurse in this instance will make arrangements to pick you up for testing. Until this assistance arrives, isolation should be maintained and once you or the individual has been removed from the isolated area, it ought to be sanitized.
- d)For cases outside of the Kingston/St. Andrew area, the Ministry of Health and Wellness may be contacted at email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org to address your concerns. Alternatively, they may contacted through following Hotline contact numbers: (888) 663-5683; (888) 754-7792; (876) 542-5998; (876) 542-6006; or at (876) 542-6007.
It is understandable that you may feel anxious about the outbreak and the associated uncertainties surrounding same. We also appreciate that this coupled with the suspension of campus activities has also disrupted your experience of community and as such, we urge you to look out for each other, even as you maintain social distancing. You are encouraged to also keep yourself informed by getting the facts from reliable sources to help you accurately determine your risks and so that you may take reasonable precautions and actions to protect yourself and your family. Please note that the Ministry of Health and Wellness is your most credible source for fact checking information related to COVID-19 in Jamaica. Such information is accessible at www.moh.gov.jm.
If you are not in an area where COVID-19 is spreading or have not travelled from an area where COVID-19 is spreading or have not been in contact with an infected patient, your risk of infection is low. Do maintain social distancing as much as is possible to ensure that your risk level remains low.
On the other hand, if you are in an area where there are cases of COVID-19. you need to take the risk of infection seriously. Follow the advice and guidance of the national and local health authorities. For persons in quarantined areas such as Bull Bay, movement has been restricted to prevent further spread of the infection given that a number of persons within said community, who would have interacted with patient zero (the first confirmed case), are now exhibiting symptoms of the disease. Do take the necessary precautions to remain safe
Human responses to the COVID-19 infection will vary; for most persons it may cause mild illness however, it can make others very ill or may even prove fatal for others. Older people, and those with pre-existing medical conditions (such as cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease or diabetes) are at risk for severe disease. As such, please exercise vigilance and take all the necessary precautions.
For your information and easy referencing, CASE DEFINITIONS for human infection with coronavirus disease (COVID-19), as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), are presented in the table below:
|SUSPECT CASE||a) A patient with acute respiratory illness (fever and at least one sign/symptom of respiratory disease (e.g., cough, shortness of breath), AND with no other etiology that fully explains the clinical presentation AND a history of travel to or residence in a country/area or territory reporting local transmission.|
|b) A patient with any acute respiratory illness AND having been in contact with a confirmed or probable COVID19 case in the last 14 days prior to the onset of symptoms.|
|c) A patient with severe acute respiratory infection (fever and at least one sign/symptom of respiratory disease (e.g., cough, shortness breath) AND requiring hospitalization AND with no other etiology that fully explains the clinical presentation.
|PROBABLE CASE||A suspect case for whom testing for COVID-19 is inconclusive.
• Inconclusive being the result of the test reported by the laboratory.
|CONFIRMED CASE||A person with laboratory confirmation of COVID-19 infection, irrespective of clinical signs and symptoms.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the affected. Let’s be kind to each other as we navigate these challenging and uncertain times.
And in your navigation, do also remain informed, prepared and safe.
We endeavour to keep you updated. Together we are stronger