May 23, 2024



Regional Chairman and RHO at loggerheads over COVID-19 management

Regional Chairman Deron Adams and Regional Health Officer Dr. Gregory Harris participating in a COVID-19 sensitisation activity

Regional Chairman Deron Adams, on Thursday, during his Chairman’s Report at the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) Statutory Meeting, chided the Regional Health Officer (RHO), Dr. Gregory Harris, for taking a lax approach in dealing with COVID-19 related issues in the region. He was alluding to the recent case of an employee attached to the One Mile Health Centre, being tested positive and the facility was not shut-down or staff quarantined. While he commended the Regional Health Department for fumigating the physical compound, he was especially disappointed in the way the welfare of the staff was addressed.

 Adams reprimanded the RHO for not responding in a timely manner to his correspondence on the said issue, which was also copied to the Regional Executive Officer (REO). “Sad to say, just like several other letters I have written to the Regional Executive Officer and now the Regional Health Officer, even after nearly a week has elapsed, I am yet to receive a response on this missive,” Adams said. He expressed his disappointment that because the necessary protocols were not followed, more employees were tested positive at the facility. “Because of the reluctance of the persons managing the health sector, on our behalf to address reasonable recommendations made, these employees now face a four in ten chance of exposure at work……since the recommendations to quarantine the staff was ignored and they were allowed to continue to provide service to the public, even after being exposed, on the grounds that the building has been sanitised,” Adams said, while instructing the RHO to respond to his correspondence within 24 hrs.

Stop playing political football

In a defensive tone, the RHO Dr. Harris, confirmed that a staff member was tested and the results returned positive on Friday morning. All protocols were followed thereafter. Since the facility is closed during the weekends, the remaining staff population was tested on Monday since the viral load is higher after a few days. “You can have a false positive or a false negative if that test is done, before a certain time, the viral load is usually up within five to seven days,” explained.

He said the staff members were engaged on the measures to follow during the weekend and those measures were followed. He revealed that after the rest of the staff population was tested, one other staff member’s results returned positive and that individual is already in isolation. He encouraged the Councillors to read and understand the COVID protocols rather than to make it a political football. “These things could have been done at One Mile instead of blowing it out of proportion, instead of trying to make it in my opinion a political football and I will say this to you, I will not shut down the One Mile Health Centre because if we should shut down all the Health Facilities….it doesn’t make sense,” Harris affirmed.

As of February 4th, 2021, Region 10 recorded nine new cases, which took the active cases to 31. Nine persons from the region, died from COVID-19 related illnesses.