Medical Officer of Health for St. James, Dr. Francine Phillips-Kelly, has advised that individuals must continue to take personal responsibility to restrict the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) as the number of positive cases continues to rise in the parish.

Speaking at the monthly meeting of the St. James Municipal Corporation on Thursday, June 9, Dr. Phillips- Kelly recommended that individuals should continue mask-wearing, hand sanitising and other public health measures to safeguard against contracting COVID-19.

She noted that with the lifting of the COVID-19 protocols, several persons have become complacent, contributing to the spike in the number of people testing positive for the virus.

“We continue to have great numbers of persons who must be in isolation and/or quarantine because of COVID 19 positivity. So, please remember that you need to be cautious; personal responsibility is being stressed. Protect yourself as much as possible and [remember] being vaccinated does not prevent you from being affected and infected, so continue to observe the protocols,” Dr. Phillips-Kelly stated.

Meanwhile, the Medical Officer of Health has informed that there is a “worrisome” increase in tuberculosis (TB) cases in the parish.

“In addition to COVID-19, we continue to see an increased number of persons who have symptoms indicative of tuberculosis and other respiratory conditions, which is of concern to us because we would have wanted to see the back of it,” Dr. Phillips-Kelly stated. She assured that the St. James Public Health Services is keeping a close watch and remains committed to preventing and treating TB cases in the parish. Jamaica is currently classified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a low-burden Tuberculosis country (less than 10 cases per 100,000 population per year); with an estimated incidence of 2.9 per 100,000 population.

Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection spread through inhaling tiny droplets from the coughs or sneezes of an infected person.

Some active pulmonary TB symptoms are chronic cough persisting for more than two weeks, especially accompanied by blood, fever, weight loss and night sweats.