Bermuda Post

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

21 new COVID-19 cases reported in Bermuda, 30 March

21 new COVID-19 cases reported in Bermuda, 30 March

The Ministry of Health received 1036 test results since the last update, and 21 were positive for COVID-19. 
Ten of the new cases are classified as local transmission with known contact as they are associated with known cases.

The additional eleven new cases are classified as under investigation. These cases are among residents with no currently identified link to other known cases or history of travel in the past 14 days.

Additionally, since the last update, there were no recoveries.

There are currently 417 active cases, of which;

· 414 are under public health monitoring and;

· Three are in hospital with none in critical care.

Since March 2020, Bermuda has recorded 1157 total confirmed cases of COVID-19; out of those, 728 persons have recovered, and 12 persons have sadly succumbed to COVID-19.

The mean age of all confirmed positive cases is 41 years (median: 39 years), and the ages range from less than one year to greater than 100 years.

The mean age of all currently active cases is 38 years (median: 37 years), and the ages range from less than ten years (age group: 0-9 years) to greater than 80 years (age group: 80-100 years).

Details will not be provided for the hospitalized cases to protect privacy and confidentiality.

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:

· 241 are Imported

· 793 are classified as local transmission of which:

o 701 are Local transmission with known contact/source and

o 92 are Local transmission with an unknown contact/source

· 123 are Under Investigation

As investigations proceed, transmission categories may change. Today’s update has 30 cases moving from under investigation to local transmission with known contact/source.

Of the over 190,000 test results reported, the mean age of all persons tested is 43 years (median: 42 years), and the ages range from less than one year to greater than 100 years.

The seven-day average of our real-time reproduction number is 2.11.

Bermuda’s current country status is “Sporadic Cases” (as determined by the World Health Organisation) and “Community Transmission” (as determined by the Pan-American Health Organisation).

“Sporadic cases” means having a few cases, which may be imported or locally acquired. However, “community transmission” signifies outbreaks where it is difficult to relate confirmed cases through chains of transmission for a large number of cases, or there are widely dispersed cases detected in the past 14 days.

As I said last Saturday, this outbreak is significant. We have community spread, and every day the numbers are increasing. However, it will get better, especially if we all do our part and take responsibility for our behaviour.

I will now provide an update on our vaccine programme...

We have now completed the eleventh full week of vaccinations. From January 11 to March 27, 2021, Bermuda has administered a total of 37,788 vaccinations – a figure that rises to 38,557 if you include yesterday's vaccinations as well! – all of which is very good news.

Of the 37,788 vaccinations administered for the period we are reporting on, which ends March 27th;

· 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 immunised. To date, 35% of the population has been vaccinated (with 1 dose), and 24% of the population has been immunised (with 2 doses).

4,290 vaccinations were delivered during the week of March 14-20. The public has accessed these vaccines as follows:

· The Vaccination Centre at Bermuda College administered 23,049 or 61% of vaccinations,

· 13,743 or 36% were administered at the Bermuda Hospitals Board Vaccination Centre,

· 996 or 3% were administered at Other Vaccination Sites.

Significant progress has been made in vaccinating our population and especially our most vulnerable. 63% of all residents over the age of 65 years have had at least one vaccination with 50% being fully immunised. 49% of individuals between 50 and 64 years of age have received at least one vaccination with 34% being fully immunised. 19% of residents less than 50 years of age have been vaccinated with at least one dose which is an increase of 6% in the week. This is encouraging as this group falls into Phase 3 which has just been open for one week. Vaccinations are continuing at a steady pace and we are seeing both the number vaccinated and the number immunized climbing steadily by 3-4% each week.

These are excellent results so far, and I would like to thank all those who have taken the step to get their vaccination to protect themselves, their families and our community.

I want to remind residents that we are in Phase 3 of Bermuda's COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation Strategy. Phase 3 is for residents who are 16 years or older. Priority will continue to be given to our more vulnerable populations, including seniors and those with medical conditions. If you have not already registered, please do so by completing the registration form. The link is on the homepage of gov.bm.

If you are over 65 years old, walk-ins will begin again on Monday, 5 April from 8.00am to 9.00am. This is at the Bermuda College only and you do not need to register in advance – just show up!

Registration numbers continue to rise, with more than 2500 online registrations received this past week. In the week ending March 27, 24,256 persons have registered their interest in getting vaccinated. The breakdown is as follows:

· 7,460 Black (31%)

· 11,184 White (46%)

· 3,819 Mixed or Other (16%), and,

· 1,793 (7%) Prefer not to say or Not Specified.

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.

Also, if you are in quarantine, please do not attend your vaccination appointment. Please let the Vaccine Programme know that you are in quarantine and will miss your appointment. The appointment can be rescheduled, and if it is your second appointment, it can be rescheduled up to 12 weeks from the first appointment.

Every dose of the vaccine is extremely important, so if you are unavailable to make your appointment, please call the Hotline at 444-2498 (Option #2) or email vaccine@gov.bm.

The further ahead we get with vaccinations the better we are able to respond to an outbreak. However, I must remind everyone that fully immunised people can still get COVID-19. They will be less ill and have mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. Vaccinated persons are better off than non-vaccinated persons because vaccinated persons will not get severely ill.

We are experiencing some delays with contact tracers communicating with those who have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive.

The number of positive cases over the past few days indicates the volume of calls that need to be made. If each positive case was in contact with only four or five people that means, each of those people must be contacted and asked to get tested.

We know many people who have tested positive have been in contact with quite a few people, so the contact tracing takes longer in those instances. Please be patient.

If you are contacted by someone who has tested positive, and they tell you they have identified you as a close contact, we strongly recommend that you prepare to quarantine for 14 days.

If you are exposed to the virus, a negative test result after exposure means that you do not have an infection at that moment. It does not change the incubation period, and you may still get an infection up to 14 days later after exposure. So please protect others by staying away from others, and quarantine yourself.

Additionally, if you are in isolation or on quarantine, you cannot go out in public, and you do not get COVID tested until Day 14.

I want to also remind employers that they do not have access to their employees COVID test results. If you require proof of quarantine, the Ministry of Health can provide a quarantine letter.

As well, if you are in quarantine, you not allowed to travel for 14 days.

It is worth noting that International Health Regulations (IHR) clearly state that - All persons who test positive in Bermuda are subject to 14-day isolation. General testing policy is no additional tests during this isolation period.

If anyone wishes to leave Bermuda within 14 days of testing positive, the Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (ESU) on behalf of the Chief Medical Officer as Bermuda’s Regulator IHR Focal Point must communicate this to the IHR Focal Point for the United Kingdom Overseas Territories (Public Health England) and to the intended destination, for example, the CDC in the US.

These obligations are reciprocal in that PHE/CDC will also inform ESU if they are aware of any persons with intended travel into or out of Bermuda who has tested positive within their travel restriction period. Discussions are then had between Bermuda and the country of intended destination regarding any possible clearance for travel. Bermuda is obligated to do this reporting.

Before I closed, I want to remind everyone that the Ministry of Health has two walk-in and drive-through pop-up locations that will offer COVID-19 testing to the community. You do not need an appointment to get tested at these locations.

The locations are:

TCD (outdoor drive-through lanes), tomorrow Wednesday 31 March, from 5:30 – 7:30 pm.

Horseshoe Bay Beach car park, Monday 5 April and Wednesday 7 April, from 4:30 – 7:30 pm.

Both walk-in and drive-through testing will be offered at TCD, while only walk-in testing will be provided at Horseshoe Bay Beach car park. I encourage persons to get tested to know their COVID status.

I would like to publicly thank Edgewood Pediatric Services, who advised us today that they are opening up to everyone to get COVID-19 testing this week. Anyone who wants to visit them for a COVID test can go to the Edgewood website and book a test. Their site is edgewoodpediatrics.com. This testing is by appointment only.

Thank you, Dr. Sylvanus Nawab and his team, for providing this much need service to the community free of charge.

Remember Bermuda - stay in your household bubble at all times, especially this Easter weekend.

· If kite flying, stay within your household bubble. Your household bubble comprises the people you live with only.

· If possible, enjoy kite flying from your own property.

· If kite flying from a park or recreation area, stay within your household bubble. Do not mix with others at the same park.

· Do not visit with, or invite to visit, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, etc. to mix with you at all. Even if you are planning a family activity outdoors, I cannot stress enough - NO MIXING OF HOUSEHOLDS.

· Continue to wear a mask, physically distance from others and practice good hand hygiene at all times – even if you are immunised. As I said earlier, being immunised does not mean that you cannot get the virus.

· Be aware of the symptoms, which are easily associated with allergies - sore throat, tiredness and headaches, coughing and sneezing.

The virus can be spread even if you are outside socialising closer than six (6) feet to others. Avoid yard and beach parties and any gatherings of more than ten people that are not in your immediate household.

If you have not already, you need to download the WeHealth app, which is designed to help slow the spread of COVID-19 by anonymously notifying app users of potential exposure to COVID-19.

Please follow the Bermuda Government guidelines. We are trying to contain the virus while vaccinating our residents at the same time.

Once we have the virus under control, we can relax the restrictions, but not until we have it under control. Please, everyone, do your part to help us get this under control.
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