Image courtesy the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI).

Jamaica currently is seeing a third wave of COVID-19 infections across the island, leading to all large hospitals there being over their capacity for admissions.

Last week, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Dunstan Bryan, revealed that as COVID-19 cases continue to climb across the island, the Ministry has had no choice but to recall some healthcare workers from vacation, particularly for the western region, which is the hardest hit.

The Jamaica Gleaner recently reported on data from the health ministry which showed that admissions at the University Hospital of the West Indies are at 100 per cent; Cornwall Regional Hospital is at 110 per cent; Spanish Town Hospital is at 160 per cent; May Pen Hospital is at 108 per cent; Mandeville Hospital is at 160 per cent; Sav-la-mar Hospital is 167 per cent; and St Ann’s Bay Hospital is at 135 per cent.

Yesterday (Thursday 12 August 2021), the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) issued an official statement admitting that it was at capacity for treating patients confirmed with the COVID-19 virus, but stated it was doing its best to manage the situation.

“As at 11 o’clock this morning, 96.1 per cent of COVID-19 positive patients at the UHWI are unvaccinated and the remaining 3.9 per cent received one dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.  Therefore, we are urging the public to get fully vaccinated,” the UHWI statement read.

“Although we have made adjustments to accommodate additional confirmed and suspected COVID-19 patients, we are nonetheless at capacity,” UHWI added.

UHWI said it has had to restrict its provision of regular healthcare and services, in addition to reducing elective and non-emergency procedures to 50 per cent of the usual numbers.

Back in February this year, as Jamaica was experiencing a second wave surge in COVID-19 cases, the UHWI management was forced to suspend leave for all medical personnel as it dealt with the COVID surge and capacity issues at the facility back then.

The University Hospital also has made an appeal to members of the public between the ages of 18 and 60 years, who have fully recovered from COVID-19 in the last 28 days, to donate plasma to assist critically ill COVID patients.