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Infirmaries to resume accepting new residents in July

The Government after two years, will be removing the absolute ban on new admissions to infirmaries across the island effective Friday, July 1.

Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, made the disclosure while addressing the homeless wellness day of care at Jarrett Park in Montego Bay, St. James, on Friday, June 10.

“Every infirmary now has long lists of persons waiting to be admitted or waiting to take a place in the facilities. I know that the wait has been long, but I am pleased to make the announcement…that commencing July 1, we will now open our infirmaries to accept new residents to the facilities,” Mr. McKenzie stated.

The State in 2020, had prohibited new admissions to the island’s 16 infirmaries as a measure to contain the spread of COVID-19 and protect the 1100 residents that currently reside in the facilities.

The Minister, however, indicated that although “we are now reopening the doors,” it will be done under certain conditions and guidelines.

“Each person who will apply for consideration will have to be fully vaccinated. They will have to have a COVID-19 test done prior to entering the facility. They will be placed in isolation for whatever period the isolation lasts for and then after they finished the isolation, then they will take one more COVID test and once they have passed that they will be admitted to the infirmary,” he explained.

Mr. McKenzie however informed that there will continue to be restricted access regarding visitation, as the COVID-19 pandemic is still ongoing.

He pointed out that since the onset of the pandemic, only 17 residents within infirmaries have lost their lives to COVID-19.

“I want to commend the workers in the infirmaries, especially here in Montego Bay and all over, for a job well done,” the Minister said.

Scores of the persons turned out for the homeless wellness day of care that was held under the theme, ‘A Day of Care & Social Services for the Homeless’.

The many men and women were fed, as well as treated to a day of health and wellness from the various State agencies.

Among the participating entities included the parish’s Poor Relief Department, St. James Public Health Services, St. James Municipal Corporation, Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Legal Aid Council, Social Development Commission, National Solid Waste Management Authority and the Jamaica Fire Brigade.

A beneficiary of the day, Michael Sadler, said it is always a good sign when the needs of the poor are being taken care of.

“They are now being considered and that’s the best thing to be done at this time. So, once they are being seen and improvements are being made [for them], together we can achieve and totally eradicate homeless people from our country.  So, I’m seeing a step forward in regard to doing that,” Mr. Sadler noted.