Third COVID wave to force postponement of some surgeries

July 29, 2021
A patient is assisted at Kingston Public Hospital.
A patient is assisted at Kingston Public Hospital.

People who have been scheduled for elective surgeries at public hospitals in Jamaica face the possibility of having their procedures rescheduled due to a third wave of the COVID-19 infections on the island.

Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton, said that the rescheduling of elective surgeries is "necessary at this time".

"We regret the inconveniences caused, but when under pressure we have no choice but to prioritise," the minister told THE STAR.

Elective surgeries refer to procedures that are not considered as medical emergencies.

Nearly two in every 10 persons who were tested for COVID-19 on Tuesday were found to have been infected with the virus. According to the Health Ministry's data, there were 181 new cases of the virus confirmed on the island on Tuesday. There were 141 persons in hospitals, 23 of whom have been listed as critically ill and 33 as moderately ill.

During a press conference on Monday, Tufton said that an increasing number of beds in hospitals are being occupied by people with COVID-19.

"The capacity of the public health system to respond is key," the minister said, while adding that the general hospitalisation occupancy is a cause for concern. He said that as of Monday, seven hospitals had at least 84 per cent bed occupancy and another four hospitals had greater more than 74 per cent, but less than 84 per cent occupied.

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