There were 440 test results received by the Ministry of Health since the last update, and two were positive for COVID-19. These two (2) new cases are classified as local transmission with known contact as they are associated with known cases.
Additionally, since the last update, there was one (1) recovery.
There are currently 30 active cases, of which;
· All 30 are under public health monitoring and;
· None are in the hospital.
Since March 2020, Bermuda has recorded 742 total confirmed cases of COVID
-19; out of those, 700 persons have recovered, and 12 persons have sadly succumbed to COVID
The mean age of all confirmed positive cases is 43 years (median: 40 years), and the ages range from less than one (1) year to greater than 100 years.
The mean age of all currently active cases is 35 years (median: 35 years), and the ages range from less than 20 years (age group: 10-19 years) to greater than 70 years (age group: 70-79 years).
The mean age of all deceased cases is 75 years (median: 77 years), and the ages range from less than 60 years (age group: 50-59 years) to greater than 80 years (age group: 80-100 years).
The source of all cases is as follows:
· 221 are imported
· 516 are classified as local transmission of which:
· 424 are local transmission with known contact/source and
· 92 are local transmission with an unknown contact/source
· 5 are under investigation
As investigations proceed, transmission categories may change. Today’s update has two cases moving from under investigation to local transmission with known contact/source.
Of the over 180,000 test results reported, the mean age of all persons tested is 43 years (median: 42 years), and the ages range from less than one (1) year to greater than 100 years.
The seven-day average of our real-time reproduction number is below one (1), and Bermuda’s current country status is “Sporadic Cases”.
While our knowledge of the coronavirus
- its investigations, care and treatment - is much improved compared with several months ago, there is one fact which will challenge our ability to cope as we continue to go through these last several weeks of colder weather, and that one fact is this that there is increasing evidence that the virus is spread through airborne transmission of small droplets and particles, which are suspended in the air over longer distances and for more time that the initial large droplet transmission first associated with Covid
Combined with the most likely transmission happening through close contact with an infected person for a period of 15 minutes or more, it is clear that being indoors due to colder temperatures, where the air circulates less and or more slowly, increases the risk of infection and spread of COVID
Indeed, the Ministry’s contact tracing investigations strongly suggest that it is social mixing or gatherings of persons that are most likely to produce local transmission and positive cases.
As such, public health protocols developed and under constant review, aim to assist the community on how best to navigate the risks involved. This is a matter of personal responsibility for community benefit, as the Government strives to strike a balance between risk mitigation and the economic impact of taking precautions.
We fully appreciate that many members of our community are suffering from COVID
fatigue… but we must remain vigilant and not let our guard down.
We now have as part of our arsenal, the ability to vaccinate our population against COVID
-19 so I urge all of us to take advantage of this and get vaccinated when it’s your turn, do this for yourself, your loved ones and our island home.
I will now provide an update on our vaccine
programme where we have completed the ninth full week of vaccinations.
For the nine week period from January 11 to March 13, 2021, Bermuda has administered a total of 29,708 vaccinations – a figure that rises to 30,481 if you include yesterday’s vaccinations as well! – all of which is good news.
Of the 29,708 vaccinations administered for the period we are reporting on, which ends March 13;
· 54% are women, and,
· 46% are men.
Bermuda’s goal of “herd immunity” will be achieved when 70% of the population (64,054) has been immunized. To date, 29% of the population has been vaccinated (with 1 dose), and 18% of the population has been immunized (with 2 doses).
4,699 vaccinations were delivered in the first week of March, and 4,304 vaccinations were delivered last week for a total of 9,003 vaccinations since the last press conference. The public has accessed these vaccines
· The Vaccination Centre at Bermuda College administered 17,650 or 59% of vaccinations,
· 11,090 or 37% were administered at the Bermuda Hospitals Board Vaccination Centre,
· 806 or 3% were administered at rest homes and long term care facilities, and
· 162 or 1% were administered at Other Vaccination Sites.
These are superb results, and next week we will be able to provide an update of progress against our objectives as well. Regrettably, that information is not available today. Even so, I would like to thank all those who have taken the step to get vaccinated to protect themselves, their families and our community.
I want to remind residents that we are now in Phase 2 of Bermuda’s COVID
Phase 2 is for residents who are 50 years or older, have been diagnosed with heart disease, chronic kidney disease, liver disease, diabetes, have a disability, are of no fixed abode or essential travelers – persons who must travel for medical purposes or to return to school.
If you fit the criteria for Phase 2, you should register for an appointment by completing the registration form at forms.gov.bm/covidvaccine.
If you were eligible for the vaccine
in Phase 1A and 1B groups and have not registered yet, please do so today or take advantage of the walk-in service at the Bermuda College.
The Bermuda College Vaccination Centre will accept walk-ins all this week for those persons 65 years and older who are unable to register for the vaccination on line. We will also accept walk-ins for those persons 50 or older. However, again, please note that priority will be given to those 65 and older. Walk-in appointments are from 3 pm to 6:45 pm, and we do ask that you not attend before 3 pm.
With regard to the numbers of persons who have registered interest… To the week ending March 13, a total of 22,298 persons have registered their interest in getting vaccinated. This number reflects actual individual registrations. Previous totals reported included what were later identified as multiple registrations. A clean-up analysis just completed indicates that 2,873 duplicate registrations were removed from the system.
The current breakdown of registrations is as follows:
· 6,515 Black
· 11,045 White
· 2,964 Mixed or Other, and,
· 1,774 Prefer not to say or Not Specified.
For those of you who have registered already – thank you and please encourage your family and friends who may be in the priority groups to register.
I also want to remind everyone about the partnership with the Ministry of Health and Age Concern Bermuda to provide assistance to their members to receive the COVID
Adults aged 50+ who require assistance with transportation to their scheduled vaccine
appointment can call Age Concern on 238 7525 to arrange free transportation.
To receive this free service, individuals must have already registered and received their vaccination appointment. If you are unable to register, you can also contact Age Concern for assistance in registering for your appointment, as they will do it for you. The transportation is being provided by Project Action, and will include travel to and drop-off after your vaccination appointment. It is good for travel to vaccinations at both the Hospital and the Vaccination Centre at Bermuda College.
Please remember that you will not be vaccinated if you have travelled in the last 14 days. You must Have a day 14 negative test result to get either your first or second dose.
Once immunised, however, there are some changes to the Travellers’ First 14 Days, which are as follows:
· Bermuda’s testing regime remains in place, therefore, an immunized person must obtain and upload a negative pre-arrival COVID
-19 PCR test as part of the Travel Authorisation process;
· All immunized persons will be tested on arrival at the airport (and will be in quarantine until they receive that result) and test again on days 4, 8 and 14 of their stay – this is the same for non-immunised persons;
· If an immunized person does not have a pre-arrival test (and this can only apply to residents), the person must remain in quarantine at their accommodation until the day 4 test – this is different compared with a non-immunised person, who must quarantine until day 8;
· After two negative test results – pre-arrival and arrival or arrival and day 4 – the immunized person can carry out regular day-to-day activities;
· Immunised travellers will not be required to wear a wristband; and,
· All immunized travellers – like everyone in Bermuda – must continue to follow public health guidelines such as wearing a mask, being physically distanced from others and practicing good hand hygiene.
Information about immunized travellers and, in particular, business travellers, can be found at: gov.bm/coronavirus
Before I close, I must remind the rule-breakers, those throwing parties and events with more than 25 people in attendance – this is not allowed, and it is dangerous and irresponsible behaviour. The more of these parties that occur, the more chances there are of spreading the coronavirus
. If the virus spreads, we will likely end up with more restrictions – beyond a midnight curfew and gatherings limited to 25 people. As it stands, the Ministry is carefully monitoring the current outbreak – and it is an outbreak – and has recommended the current restrictions remain in place for a further two weeks. The carelessness of party-goers may change that for the worse.
Please, everyone, follow the rules and guidelines … continue to wear your mask, practice hand hygiene, and physically distance.
Avoid the three ‘Cs’ – closed spaces with poor ventilation, crowded places with many people nearby, and close-contact settings such as close-range conversations – six feet must be maintained at all times, including greetings.