All three patients test negative for coronavirus
Jamaica's health and wellness ministry yesterday advised that the test results for all three patients who were placed in isolation for investigation of the novel coronavirus, now known as COVID-19, have come back negative.
The ministry said the results for the second and third patients were received yesterday from the Caribbean Public Health Agency, following on the receipt of the first result from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday.
“The first patient, who had arrived in Jamaica on January 30, presented at Annotto Bay Hospital and was later isolated for further investigation. The public was informed on February 10 and February 12, respectively, of the second and third patients being put in isolation,” the ministry said in a news release.
The second individual had an elevated temperature, which was detected while in quarantine. The third person was put in isolation after being detected with a fever on arrival at Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay on February 11. All three patients will now be discharged, given their negative test results, the ministry said.
It issued a reminder that quarantine and isolation procedures are in place to allow for the detection and early investigation of all individuals who may have been exposed to the virus.
The ministry has also reiterated that infection prevention precautions, such as frequent hand-washing, coughing and sneezing in tissue and discarding it, as well as avoiding contact with people who are ill must be practised by all. Further, people who are having flu-like symptoms must stay away from other people to prevent the spread of infection.
Meanwhile, yesterday China reported a surge in deaths and infections from the virus after changing the way the count is tallied, further clouding an epidemic that has stirred fear as it spread to more than two dozen countries.
The spike came after two days in which the number of new cases dropped and brought little clarity for those desperate to understand the trajectory of the outbreak, The Associated Press reported.
“What we need is some consistency over time to give us an idea of what's actually happening,” said Dr William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University in the United States. “Is transmission happening or is it not?”
The answer has proved frustratingly elusive despite the official reports.
The death toll in China from the disease reached 1,367, up 254 from a day earlier, and the number of confirmed cases jumped to 59,804, up 15,152.
Dr Michael Ryan, the World Health Organization's emergencies chief, said the dramatic increase was due to a revised way of counting cases and cautioned it did not represent a sudden surge in new infections.