LOWE RIVER, Trelawny — Panic and fear gripped the Lowe River community in Trelawny yesterday, after news emerged that a six-year-old girl is the first person in the parish to have been infected with the deadly COVID-19.
Since then the area has become somewhat of a ghost town as residents have seemingly locked themselves indoors, fearing that they may become infected with the new coronavirus.
According to a Jamaica Observer source, the infected child, who resides in St Catherine, had gone to spend time with relatives in Lowe River over the Easter holiday.
“She came down feeling a little sick, got worse, and was taken to hospital where she was confirmed with the virus,” said the source.
The child is said to be a contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19.
Paul Patmore, owner of Patmore’s Funeral Home located in the community, said the streets of Lowe River have been empty since shortly after midday yesterday.
“They (residents) heard the news from morning, but by about midday everybody got nervous. The entire community is under lockdown because they took it very serious. There were still a few higglers buying food to take to market, but that just stopped immediately,” said Patmore, who is a former independent councillor for the area.
A market vendor who gave her name as Gloria said when she was purchasing ground provisions from a farmer he insisted that she should speed up the transaction as he wanted to get off the road.
“Him just a rush mi seh him waan go een. Mi understand now why, and mi worried, because a here (Lowe River) mi get mi likkle foodstuff fi tek to market. But since everybody gone een, mi haffi go home too,” lamented Gloria.
When contacted yesterday, Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) councillor for the Lorimers Division, Desmond Smith, said while he could not confirm that a child from the Lowe River community has contracted the disease, “maybe this one presumed confirmed case will be a wake-up call for the community to take this virus seriously”.
“I don’t have any confirmation of it, I just saw it on social media, but I have been trying to encourage them (residents) to reduce the crowding. I am tired of emphasising it. The little shop at the roadside will have more than 10 persons crowded inside, and I had to come out of my vehicle and tell them to practise social distancing.
“Another scenario was at the Lowe River Post Office, where the residents were collecting their PATH [Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education] benefits, and they were greeting each other and not observing social distancing. I guess they were so comfortable that it (COVID-19) would not come here. Now that the first case is confirmed, I hope this will be a wake-up call for the residents,” he told the Observer.
Up to yesterday, the parish of Trelawny had reported no case of COVID-19. The first case was reported in Jamaica on March 10.
The parishes of Hanover and St Thomas are now the only parishes in Jamaica yet to confirm a single case of COVID-19.
As of yesterday, there were 143 confirmed cases with five deaths and 23 recoveries on the island.
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