Health and Wellness Minister, Dr Chris Tufton, says while there are over 20,000 confirmed COVID 19 cases island-wide, the actual figure could exceed 60,000.

Dr Chris Tufton, Health and Wellness Minister.

In the meantime, National Epidemiologist, Dr. Karen Webster-Kerr, says the increasing positivity rate, prove there is a real surge in cases.

She says almost every community has been impacted by the virus.

Dr Webster says among the top twenty communities, in the past few weeks, are Old Harbour, Spanish Town, Mandeville and Gregory Park.

She says St Catherine also has the highest number of deaths, followed by St Andrew.

But Dr Webster Kerr says Trelawny, Westmoreland and St James, have the highest rate of deaths per 100-thousand population.

Dr Karen Webster Kerr, National Epidemiologist.

They were addressing a Health and Wellness Ministry virtual media conference.

In the meantime, Dr Tufton says Jamaica could receive some vaccines before the availability of those committed under the World Health Organisation’s Covax facility.

The Health and Wellness Minister told the nation recently, that the country will receive the COVAX vaccines by month end.

But when pressed yesterday he could not give an exact timeline.

Dr Tufton referred to Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke’s speech in Parliament yesterday, in which he said the government has set aside 6-billion dollar to vaccinate 2-million people by the end of the next fiscal year.

But Dr Tufton says that’s dependent on the availability of vaccines globally.

Chris Tufton, Health and Wellness Minister, speaking at the Ministry’s virtual media conference last evening.