The Health and Wellness Ministry is reporting five additional COVID-19 cases in Jamaica, pushing the tally to 478.
Portfolio Minister Dr Christopher Tufton indicated that one of the new cases is an 18-year-old male from St Mary who is a contact of a previously confirmed patient.
The others are three men who range in ages from 18 to 69 years and a 17-year-old female.
Thirty-five imported cases; 171 cases that are contacts of a confirmed case; 11 are local transmission cases not epidemiologically-linked; and 257 are under investigation – 221 of those linked to the workplace cluster and 36 others.
Four are to be classified.
The age range for the confirmed cases continues to be two months to 87 years.
Eight more persons have recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total to 57.
So far, 6,095 samples have been tested, with five new positives for today.
Of the 6,095, in addition to the 478 that have returned positive results, 5,576 are negative and 41 are pending.
In the last 24 hours, 102 new samples were tested.
Tufton stated that with the testing backlog out of the way, the Ministry, in collaboration with the Regional Health Authorities, will explore expanded testing options for COVID-19 to include the testing of all admissions to hospitals and the creation of an appointment system for persons who wish to be tested for the virus.
Auditor General audit
Tufton indicated that the Auditor General’s Department will next week begin an audit of the Ministry’s COVID-19 expenditure.
He said the Ministry welcomes the audit as a tool for effective and efficient implementation of activities and for transparency and accountability.
He said the public will be provided with the details of the outcome.
Last week, the ministry indicated that it has only $300 million left to spend out of the $2.8-billion budget it received to fight the coronavirus disease and signalled that it will be going back to the finance ministry for more.
Meanwhile, Tufton informed that 20 or 62.5 per cent of the island’s 32 call centres have passed inspection.
He said the remaining institutions have been provided with work plans to improve their infection prevention and control measures.