Health and Wellness Minister, Dr. Christopher Tufton, says Jamaica has recorded no cases of the Delta variant of the coronavirus (COVID-19) that is blamed for a new wave of deaths and infections globally.
Tufton said that the Ministry has arranged for the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the US-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Trinidad-based Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) to test samples for any mutations that would pose a concern.
He said earlier this week, health officials reported to Cabinet on tests that they had received from testing late last week.
“We had three locations that we sent samples to and we had committed that each week we would send out 100 or so samples at one of the three locations for testing, to carry out the surveillance as to whether the Delta variant is here,” Tufton said.
“Results we got last week, we did not find the Delta strain in those results. I think we got back about 60 or so results, but each week we will continue to report based on those results,” he added.
But Tufton said there is a worrying trend of Jamaicans seeking medical help too late for COVID-19, resulting in increased deaths.
“We are seeing persons who have symptoms and who try to self-medicate and to find their own solutions for one reason or the other and end up at the hospital when they are in an advanced state of illness, and that is unwise. I think that has also contributed to the severity of the cases in hospitals, and by extension the ultimate consequence of death,” he noted.
He is encouraging Jamaicans that “if you are unclear of your condition, seek medical attention, get tested, the system allows for that”.