Bermuda Post

Tuesday, Jan 19, 2021

COVID-19 Update - Minister of Health Remarks on 14 December 2020

COVID-19 Update - Minister of Health Remarks on 14 December 2020

Good Afternoon, There were 2747 test results received by the Ministry of Health since the last update and 25 were positive for COVID-19. 
Four of the new cases are classified as imported, all testing positive on their arrival test, with details as follows

1 resident who arrived on DL 584 from Atlanta on 11 December 2020
1 non-resident who arrived on AC 942 from Toronto on 11 December 2020, with a negative pre-arrival test
1 resident who arrived on AA 308 from Miami on 11 December 2020
1 non-resident who arrived on DL 584 from Atlanta on 12 December 2020, also with a negative pre-arrival test
Four of the new cases are classified as local transmission with known contact/source as associated with known cases/clusters.

The remaining new cases are classified as under investigation. These cases are among residents with no history of travel or currently identified links to other known cases or clusters.

Bermuda now has 456 total confirmed positive cases. Their status is as follows:

· there are 200 active cases, of which

· 198 are under public health monitoring and

· 2 are hospitalized with 1 in critical care;

· a total of 247 have recovered, and

· the total deceased remains 9.

The average age of all confirmed positive cases is 44 years (median: 40 years) and the age range is 0 to 101 years.

The average age of all active cases is 35 years (median: 30 years) and the age range is 0 to 77 years.

To protect privacy and confidentiality, the average age and age range of the hospitalized cases will not be provided.

The average age of all deceased cases is 74 years and the age range is 57 to 91 years.

The source of all cases is as follows:

· 134 are Imported

· 257 are Local transmission, with known contact/source

· 21 are Local transmission with an unknown contact/source, and

· 65 are under investigation

It should be noted that as investigations proceed, transmission categories may change.

The seven-day average of our real time reproduction number is greater than 1 (2.06). Bermuda’s current country status remains as “Clusters of cases”.

Many of the positives we are dealing with now are coming out a few events held over one weekend. People who went out, were not careful and did not properly follow public health guidelines. The evidence suggests that it is the actions of groups of people in social settings that is causing the increase in positive cases.

I will repeat my message from last week, now is definitely NOT the time to socialize in large groups with people from multiple households.

Last week I announced a new testing schedule and added sites.

I need to emphasise that these new testing facilities are by appointment.

The schedule is as follows:

Testing on Mondays will take place at Bull's Head Car Park from 10am until 2pm for non-symptomatic persons and 2pm to 4pm for symptomatic persons.
On Tuesdays, testing will take place at the Star of India in Dockyard from 11am until 3pm for non-symptomatic persons and 3pm to 5pm for symptomatic persons.
On Wednesdays, it will take place at Penno’s Wharf in St. George’s from 11am until 3pm for non-symptomatic persons and 3pm to 5pm for symptomatic persons.
On Thursdays testing will take place at the Star of India from 11am until 3pm for non-symptomatic persons and 3pm to 5pm for symptomatic persons.
On Fridays testing will be at Bull’s Head from 10am until 2pm for non-symptomatic persons and 2pm to 4pm for symptomatic persons.
On Saturday testing will take place at Bull's Head from 9am until 2pm for non-symptomatic persons and 2pm to 4pm for symptomatic persons.
And on Sundays testing will take place at Penno’s Wharf from 11am to 5pm for travellers and non-symptomatic persons.
I do understand that most of the appointment slots have been booked; however, it is difficult to increase capacity further at this time. We are looking at the occurrence of ‘repeat appointments’ by the same people, as the removal of those appointments – and there are a lot of them! – will help with testing capacity.

Of necessity, the Ministry’s focus must be on those cases which are a priority. This includes people who are symptomatic, people who are identified by the ESU as being close contacts of someone who has tested positive, and people who are already part of a testing regime established the Ministry – such as travellers and those in quarantine.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I will continue to remind the public about how critical it is to follow public health guidelines – for your own safety and the safety of our entire community.

· Frequently cleanse your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

· When coughing or sneezing cover your nose and mouth.

· Avoid the 3 Cs - closed spaces, crowded places and close-contact settings.

· Reduce your bubble sizes - choose only one or two other households to socialise with for the next few weeks.

· When you meet others, meet outdoors and wear masks and observe physical distancing.

· Consider postponing events until it's safer.

· Ensure your workplace is following COVID-19 protocols.

· And if you are inside, make sure that your environment is properly ventilated.

· Wear a mask if physical distancing of 6 feet cannot be maintained, – and wear it properly.

To wear a mask properly you must:

Wear your mask so it comes all the way up, close to the bridge of your nose, and all the way down under your chin.
Do your best to tighten the loops or ties so it’s snug around your face, without gaps
I would like to also encourage people to please be patient about the receipt of test results due to the high volume of tests we are currently doing. Our turnaround time for test results is approximately 48 hours.

In closing, I would like to remind everyone that we must take personal responsibility for the health and safety of this island. We must all adhere to the public health guidelines – they are not difficult. Wearing a mask, practicing proper hygiene, physical distancing, avoiding crowds – these are simple actions that can keep us all safe from this pandemic.

Thank you.
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