Bermuda Post

Tuesday, Aug 03, 2021

COVID-19 Update - Minister of Health's Remarks 29 June 2021

COVID-19 Update - Minister of Health's Remarks 29 June 2021

The Ministry of Health received 7048 test results since the last update, and four (4) were positive for COVID-19.
This gives a test positivity rate of 0.1%.

These results are from testing done on the following dates:

§ Thursday, June 24: 2 positive out of 2051 results (0.1% positivity)

§ Friday, June 25: 0 positive out of 1902 results (0.0% positivity)

§ Saturday, June 26: 2 positive out of 1750 results (0.1% positivity)

§ Sunday June 27: 0 positive out of 1345 results (0.0% positivity)

Two of the new cases are classified as imported with details as follows:

§ 1 resident who arrived on British Airways BA 159 from London on 22 June 2021 and tested positive on their Day 4 test

§ 1 non-resident who arrived on American Airlines AA 2044 from Charlotte on 24 June 2021 and tested positive on an outbound test

The other two new cases are classified as local transmission with known contact as they are associated with a known case.

Additionally, since the last update, there were two (2) recoveries and no deaths.

There are currently 15 active cases, of which;

· 15 are under public health monitoring and;

· None are in the hospital.

Since March 2020, Bermuda has recorded 2514 total confirmed cases of COVID-19; out of those, 2466 persons have recovered, and sadly, there have been 33 COVID related deaths.

The source of all cases is as follows:

· 318 are Imported

· 2193 are classified as local transmission of which:

o 1697 are Local transmission with known contact/source and

o 496 are Local transmission with an unknown contact/source

· 3 are Under Investigation

As investigations proceed, transmission categories may change.

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

Bermuda’s current WHO country status remains “Sporadic Cases”.

Before I give an update on the vaccination programme, I would like to send my heartfelt condolences to the family of Mr Ra-Che Williams, who unexpectedly passed away late last week. Mr Williams was a member of the Ministry of Health Covid Testing support team stationed at the L.F. Wade Airport and had been since his return from university last September. He served his country as part of the Ministry of Health team and we are ever so grateful.

I will now provide an update on our vaccination programme…

We have completed the twenty-fourth full week of vaccinations. Since January 11th Bermuda has administered a total of 79,854 vaccinations – a figure that rises to 80,722 if you include vaccinations on Sunday June 27th and Monday June 28th as well!

Of the 79,854 vaccinations given as of June 26th:

52% are women, and,
48% are men.
81.8% of all residents over the age of 65 years have had at least one vaccination and 79.1% are fully immunized.

To date, 64.4% of the population has been vaccinated (1 dose), and 60.3% of the population has been immunized (2 doses).

The vaccination centre at the Bermuda College will close as of tomorrow, June 30th. Additionally the last day to get an AstraZeneca vaccine at the Bermuda College is tomorrow 30th June. Further we invite nonresidents that are interested in getting an AstraZeneca vaccine to attend the Bermuda College tomorrow between 9 am and 1 pm. A first dose AstraZeneca can be provided however a second dose of AstraZeneca is not guaranteed. However, a comparable vaccine can be provided for second dose. The nonresidents must provide proof of arriving to Bermuda before 20th June 2021.

The KEMH Vaccination Centre will remain open Monday to Friday from 4 pm until 8 pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 8 am until 12 noon for appointments and walk-ins. Please visit gov.bm to make an appointment.

Although restrictions have relaxed significantly since June 20th, it is still recommended that persons remain vigilant and err on the side of caution as much as possible. COVID-19 continues to be a major threat globally and cases are rising significantly in many other countries.

Further, due to the transmissibility and severity of the delta and beta variant which are present on island, the large group’s size will be reduced from 100 to 50 effective this Thursday 1st July. The mitigating change is a preventative measure to assist in evading spread of the virus.

Persons who are vaccinated should also remain vigilant because the vaccine does not guarantee that persons won't catch COVID-19. The vaccine is highly effective in protecting severe illness and death but the level of effectiveness does vary across the COVID-19 variants.

I strongly suggest that you do not use international news sources as a guide for the COVID-19 situation here in Bermuda. Our policies are specifically designed for the Bermuda context, and although they may be different from those of other countries, they are deemed most suitable for the safety of our community.

For travellers, it is important that you take extra care when filling out a Travel Authorisation before intended travel and have all documents ready before starting the TA process.

This includes COVID-19 PCR test results, vaccine certificates and hotel/exemption confirmations, if applicable.

The most common reason a TA is being rejected for residents is that they do not upload their vaccine certificates.

Additionally, TA’s are being rejected because travellers PCR test results do not meet the approval criteria. For example, the test is an antigen test, or the result document does not contain the letters "PCR" on it.

The Bermuda Government will email your travel authorisation to you when it has been approved. So, you must provide the correct email address and check your inbox, spam or junk mail.

The COVID-19 helpline is operating from 8 am until 8 pm, seven days a week. In the last week, the volume of calls to the helpline has increased tremendously and additional staff has been added to answer calls as well as answer emails. If you do not have all of the information and your TA is rejected, please call the COVID-19 helpline at 444-2498 for assistance immediately.

Although some travelers are experiencing issues with Travel Authorisations, TAs have been a necessary tool in our border protection framework for the last year. I appreciate everyone’s patience as we navigate through the recent additions to this process.

I want to remind returning Bermudian students who left the island between the periods of 1 July, 2020 and 6 May, 2021, who are required to quarantine at a designated facility, the cost of their stay will be covered by the Government. More information can be found on the Government portal, gov.bm.

I am pleased to report that our care homes have now moved into Phase 3 of visiting and activities. This move allows increased engagement with care home residents while mitigating risks tied to our current national COVID-19 status.

More specifically, indoor onsite, as well as off-site visiting, are now authorised. However, you must schedule your visits to enable the home to ensure appropriate space and support as required, so please ensure you call in advance and coordinate with the care home. In addition, appropriate PPE and physical distancing must be maintained during visits and off-site activities considering the risks to the resident, such as immunisation status or the location and type of off-site activity.

Other changes to care home restrictions include enabling direct care staff in care homes to now work onsite at one other healthcare location based on being immunised or participating in a 3-day testing regime. The purpose of easing the cross-site work restriction is to facilitate care homes increasing their staffing compliment, especially in light of the phase 3 changes. We move slowly and cautiously with easing restrictions in care homes due to the impact COVID-19 can and has had in these settings and how quickly our status can potentially change due to variants. Administrators will be communicating with residents, families and staff regarding the various changes. The Care home Covid-19 Guidance, version 2 is being updated and will be republished shortly.

In closing, I want to remind the public that the Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit in the Office of Chief Medical Officer is managing an outbreak of COVID-19 in the Swizzle Inn Restaurant in Hamilton Parish.

If you were at the Swizzle Inn between Tuesday, June 15 and Thursday, June 24, please get tested even if you have been vaccinated. You should also monitor yourself for symptoms daily for 2 weeks from the last time you were at Swizzle Inn. Symptoms of covid+19">COVID 19 include cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, muscle or body aches, headaches, congestion, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. If you develop any symptoms, even minor cold symptoms, please stay home, quarantine yourself and keep away from others, seek advice from your GP, or you may contact case management at covid19casemanagment@gov.bm.”

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, as I stated before, and 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. There is a wealth of information about the vaccines online at gov.bm.

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

Thank you.
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