SHERIE-ANN ANDERSON, president of Jamaica Homesharing Association, whose members are listed on the Airbnb accommodation platform, has responded positively to an appeal from the Government for the private sector to help in the provision of 600 rooms to housed several COVID-19 patients as they recover from the deadly virus.
“The Jamaica Homesharing Association is willing to help during this time of national need. We are ready to assist and we are in this together,” Anderson told The Gleaner.
Anderson was responding to a national appeal made by Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton, who, on Monday during a COVID-19 press conference at Jamaica House, called on the private sector to help in the provision of rooms to aid the isolation and recovery of COVID-19 patients.
According to Anderson, while her association stands ready to help in the provision of rooms from its more than 4,000 homesharing hosts spread across the island, she will now need to engage her members to find out how many available rooms they have so as to respond to the need at this time.
“We will reach out to our membership and once we have a discussion with the Ministry of Health and Wellness to gather the specifics, we will help in any way we can,” declared Anderson.
APPEAL TO HOTEL SECTOR
On Monday, Tufton appealed to the hotel sector and other private-sector leaders to assist in the provision of 600 rooms to house several COVID-19 shedding patients in isolation as they recover from the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“We are asking the public for support in helping us to identify these facilities. We know there are a number of facilities, like hotels, that are now not operating. The Government would like to engage them in a conversation around the availability of these facilities, and, of course, we would like to engage them in a manner where we are not paying the normal market hotel rates,” Tufton said, in making his appeal.
“It is important. We have patients now that we have treated in the hospitals who are now recovering. They showed no signs of illness, but to release them we have to achieve two negative tests and … negative tests has to be done within a certain period of 48 hours apart,” continued Tufton.
“Until that time, you can’t release them in the general population because they are classified as ‘shedding’, meaning the virus is still active and can be spread,” added Tufton.
According to Tufton, 400 rooms are needed in the Southern and South East Regional Health Authorities, covering the parishes of Kingston, St Andrew, St Catherine, St Thomas, Manchester, Clarendon, and St Elizabeth. While the other 200 rooms are required in the Western and North East Regional Health Authorities and cover the parishes of Hanover, St James, Trelawny, Westmoreland, St Ann, Portland, and St Mary, respectively.