Some residents in the vicinity of Lady Musgrave Road have expressed concerns after new information emerged that a small independent hotel operation in the area is being used as an isolation facility, for tourist who test positive for the coronavirus on arrival into Jamaica.
The establishment is one of several secret locations being used to isolate visitors and others who test positive.
The Den understands that a male traveller, who had twice tested negative for COVID-19 in New York, was taken to the establishment after testing positive shortly after arriving in Jamaica on July 8.
The tourist who will only be in the island for 8-days is said to have come to visit with his significant other.
While the establishment is closed for regular bookings until September 2020, customers of the establishment have expressed concern that spa services are still available, and are being advertised.
“It is quite concerning because given all the new information about COVID-19 is it still safe to go in there, the last thing I want is to be at a site where there is active COVID cases and hear that I was apart of a cluster,” said one customer who recently booked a massage at the location.
” I mean since things have started to reopen, I have been hitting up AC a lot and it is nearby, I dunno, I just feel that people should have information because when I heard, though not going there it made me a little cautious because you really never know where they could be isolating individuals,’ added another man, who lives nearby the establishment.
Other residents said that as long as the proper protocols are being followed, they had no issue being in close proximity to the facility.
“Doesn’t matter to me, I mean they’re in a building, my worry is just in general are the proper protocols with relation to garbage disposal being followed,” said a man who lived at a nearby apartment complex.
“I had heard some grumbling but to be honest, I am not concerned at all, they here already, what we really going to do? ” added another woman.
Do residents and others have anything to fear?
According to Opposition Spokesman on Health, Dr. Morais Guy not really.
Guy who spoke to The Den said that in order to contract the virus,an individual has to come into close contact with an infected person, that ‘s why he said social distancing is so important. Guy further added that once proper isolation techniques are followed, people on the premises of such establishments are not at risk.
The Den also asked Guy, to provide a possible reason why all isolation locations are not disclosed to the public?
While Guy could not say definitively, he listed two reasons why some locations may not be disclosed, noting the issue of patient privacy, as well as, stigma.
“Stigma is something that you need not have,” said Guy who noted that sometimes in sharing such details stigmatization of the establishment and workers can occur.
Lastly, Guy was asked how it could be possible that a tourist could have tested negative twice but still test positive on arrival.
While Guy could not offer a definitive explanation he noted that there are two ways that health professionals test for COVID-19, namely, the antibody test and the PCR swab test.
He noted that Jamaica uses the PCR test, which is the gold standard for testing, highlighting that the this type of testing can detect early onset and is the most accurate.
However, the real issue as Guy explained it is the “slip between the cup and the lip” noting the government requirement that tests be completed within a 7 day period prior to tourists arriving is too long, as many things could happen in this time-frame.
Guy instead is recommending that arriving tourist are tested 72-hours prior to their arrival, noting that a shorter time frame would increase the likelihood of a more accurate reading and probably help prevent more positive cases from arriving.
While noting that the pre-testing wasn’t a foolproof protocol if improved Guy said it could prove more useful.