Jamaica Faces COVID-19 Crisis Amid Oxygen Shortage

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By NAN Staff Writer

News Americas, KINGSTON, Jamaica, Mon. Aug. 30, 2021: Jamaica is in a serious crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic as the country added almost a 1,000 news cases Sunday, over 20 new deaths, and reported a shortage of oxygen.

The Ministry of Health on Sunday confirmed reports of a shortage of medical oxygen across the island.

‘With lives at stake given the high number of hospitalizations associated with COVID-19, the Ministry of Health & Wellness is pursuing all efforts to support public health facilities that are low or otherwise now out of oxygen,” the statement said.

The statement came as the country reported 929 new cases to reach 66,663 cases to date. The death toll reached 1,504 as 21 new deaths were reported as island wide there are now 17,064 active cases. Of that number, 67 are serious.

According to the Ministry, all hospitals were low in supply and those that were out and had to be supplemented. The statement added that the Ministry is now in dialogue with oxygen suppliers IGL Limited, who are seeking to have stores increased on Monday and into Tuesday.

“All hospitals – through the regional technical directors at the regional health authorities (RHAs) and senior medical officers – have, in the interim, been instructed on oxygen conservation while the island awaits the restoration of supplies,” the ministry said.

The ministry also said that of particular concern at this time are critically ill COVID-19 patients as well as non-COVID-19 patients in need of high amounts of oxygen.

Based on this, surgeries will also not be performed as patients will not be able to be ventilated without oxygen.

“The Ministry and the RHAs are doing everything possible to provide the best possible care for all persons, until oxygen stores can be restored,” the statement added.

The Ministry is continuing to encourage members of the public to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and is also urging the public to remain vigilant in their adherence to infection prevention and control measures, notably, mask wearing; maintaining a physical distance from others; and frequently washing and/or sanitizing hands.