Bermuda Post

Monday, Jun 14, 2021

COVID-19 Update - Minister of Health's Remarks 25 May 2021

COVID-19 Update - Minister of Health's Remarks 25 May 2021

The Ministry of Health received 927 test results since the last update, and none were positive for coronavirus. This gives a test positivity rate of 0.0%.
Additionally, since the last update, there were 15 recoveries and no deaths.

There are currently 42 active cases, of which;

· 40 are under public health monitoring and;

· Two (2) are in the hospital, with one (1) in intensive care.

Since March 2020, Bermuda has recorded 2490 total confirmed cases of COVID-19; out of those, 2416 persons have recovered, and sadly, 32 COVID related deaths.

The source of all cases is as follows:

· 302 are Imported

· 2156 are classified as local transmission of which:

o 1675 are Local transmission with known contact/source and

o 481 are Local transmission with an unknown contact/source

· 32 are Under Investigation

As investigations proceed, transmission categories may change.

The seven-day average of our real-time reproduction number is less than one (1).

Bermuda’s current WHO country status remains “Community Transmission”.

The numbers of confirmed positive COVID cases continue to decrease, and after a long year of battling the coronavirus, things are improving. Bermuda is making good progress, and we are slowly getting back to normal.

I will now provide an update on our vaccination programme…

We have completed the nineteenth full week of vaccinations. From January 11 to May 22, 2021, Bermuda has administered a total of 68,104 vaccinations – a figure that rises to 68,822 if you include vaccinations administered between Sunday May 23rd and Monday May 24th as well! –all of which is excellent news.

Of the 65,104 vaccinations administered for the period we are reporting on, which ends May 22nd :

52% are women, and,
48% are men.
77.6% of all residents over the age of 65 years have had at least one vaccination with 72.4% being fully immunized. Last week, I reported 79.9% of all residents over the ages of 65 have had at least one vaccination, however, the corrected number is 76.36%.

To date, 55.7% of the population has been vaccinated (with 1 dose), and 50.5% of the population has been immunized (with 2 doses).

Again, we are making significant progress vaccinating our residents.

I encourage everyone who wishes to be vaccinated to do so as soon as possible.

You can get vaccinated at the Bermuda College, which is open Monday to Friday, 9:00 am until 1:00 pm for walk-ins.

You can also make an appointment to get vaccinated at Bermuda College between 11:00 am and 1:00 pm. However, the Bermuda College is not open for vaccinations on the weekend.

The Bermuda Hospitals Board vaccine centre is open daily between 8:00 am and 8:00 pm for anyone with an appointment. This is especially convenient for people who are working during the day and who need an appointment in the evening or on the weekend. They will be accepting walk-ins this Saturday and Sunday.

This week the Close To Home COVID-19 mobile vaccination programme will be at the following locations:

· Thursday, May 27, at the Sandy’s Secondary Middle School from 4 pm until 7 pm, and,

· Saturday, May 29, at the National Sports Centre from 10 am until 2 pm.

At the National Sports Centre on Saturday, vaccine certificates will be provided to those who do not have internet access. Also, 200 free meals will be given away from the caterer Kenny’s Kitchen thanks to the generous donation of Red Laser Ltd. There will also be other participants that will be joining Bermuda’s objective for community immunity and will be giving out gift cards and vouchers to those that get vaccinated at the National Sports Centre this Saturday, May 29th. I would like to thank Auto Solutions who will be donating free car wash vouches and Frontline Foundation who will be donating gift cards from various businesses in the community to those that get vaccinated.

We are reaching a milestone Bermuda, as there are 2 weeks left to assure yourselves of two (2) doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

Next week the mobile vaccination locations are:

· Shelly Bay Marketplace on June 1.

· TN Tatem Middle School on June 3

· And Victor Scott Primary School on June 6.

The Close to Home mobile vaccination neighbourhood sites are for people who have not yet registered for the COVID-19 vaccine, do not have access to the internet, and prefer to register in person or have additional questions about the COVID-19 vaccine.

There will be doctors on site to answer any questions you have, and you don’t need an appointment. You can just show up and roll up your sleeve.

We recommend the Close to Home mobile vaccination programme as an ideal opportunity to learn more for those people who want to hear about the COVID-19 vaccine from a trusted source.

If you need a free ride to any of the vaccinations sites, call 533-5903 between 10.00 am and 1.30 pm. Mini-buses are available to take you there and bring you back home.

Since the mobile vaccination programme began on April 27, a total of 1729 vaccines have been given as of May 24. About 78% of injections were administered to people receiving their first dose.

Thanks very much to the Bermuda Health Council and the Royal Bermuda Regiment who have been assisting the Ministry of Health with this programme. And thanks to all of our healthcare-workers and stakeholders who have been assisting with our mobile vaccinations.

If you need assistance getting vaccinated or simply have questions, please contact vaccine@gov.bm, or call the hotline 444-2498 and select Option #2. The Vaccine Call Centre is available from 8 am – 4 pm, Monday to Friday and Saturdays from 9 am - 3 pm. The Call Centre is closed on Sundays.

As I have mentioned previously, Bermuda’s current supplies of Pfizer BioNTech and AstraZeneca vaccines expire on June 30. The Pfizer vaccine requires three weeks between doses. This means the last, first dose can be given on June 8, which is fast approaching. To be assured you can receive 2 doses of the Pfizer vaccine please either register for an appointment at gov.bm or attend the walk-in facility at the Bermuda College or attend one of the Close to Home locations before or 8th June.

Yesterday was a monumental day for Bermuda. To ensure we limit vaccine wastage, 9,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine were delivered to Trinidad and Tobago on a private fight.

Our neighbors in the south have had some challenges with retaining sufficient supplies of vaccines and I am proud of how the Bermuda Government and the community joined together to support Trinidad and Tobago as we believe it was a win/win for both countries.

The AstraZeneca vaccine can be administered up to 12 weeks after the first dose. Therefore the first dose can be given until June 30, with the second dose administered from a new batch of vaccines received from COVAX.

There is currently enough COVID-19 vaccines available in Bermuda for anyone who wants to be vaccinated. Once the existing batches of vaccines have expired, more will be sourced in the coming months. For those who wish to get the Pfizer vaccine, now is the time. There are no guarantees of Bermuda getting more doses in the immediate future.

Those parents who are interested in having their children vaccinated can register their appropriately aged children on gov.bm so the Ministry of Health can gauge interest in being vaccinated.

As I mentioned last week, the Food & Drug Administration and Health Canada have both approved the Pfizer vaccine for children aged 12 to 15 years old.

However, as the Memorandum of Understanding between the Bermuda Government and the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office in the UK specifies the vaccine can be used only on people aged 16 years and over.

Bermuda and other territories are facing the same challenges and continue to wait for the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to approve use of the Pfizer Vaccine for this age group. This is an issue we are still working on resolving before we can begin to administer the vaccine to the lower age group of 12 – 15 year olds.

On a final note, tomorrow at 8 pm, we have a panel of experts who will explain how the COVID-19 testing works and they will share the research about giving the COVID-19 vaccine to 12–15-year-olds.

On the panel will be Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Ayo Oyinloye, Dr. Carika Weldon, Dr. Ramon Arscott, Epidemiologist Ms. Dy-Juan DeRosa, and Pediatrician Dr. Sylvanus Nawab. They will debunk myths and answer questions from the public so I encourage you to tune in with your questions.

This informative programme will air live on the Bermuda Government’s Facebook page, CITV, and YouTube, at 8 pm, Wednesday May 26.

Please remember, each of us must do our part to stop the spread of the coronavirus. It is essential that we all follow Public Health guidelines, wear a mask, practice good hand hygiene, maintain physical distance and download the WeHealth Bermuda app. Do the research, talk with your doctor and make an informed decision about getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

Stay safe, Bermuda, and don’t forget to avoid the three “Cs”: closed spaces, crowded places and close contact settings.
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