Bermuda Post

Wednesday, Dec 02, 2020

No new COVID cases reported; Minister Wilson's guidelines for Halloween

Today there were 347 test results received by the Ministry of Health, and none were positive for COVID-19.

Bermuda now has 181 total confirmed positive cases. Their status is as follows:

170 have recovered, and
there are 2 active cases, who are
all under public health monitoring;
none are hospitalized or in critical care, and
the total deceased remains at 9.

The average age of all of our confirmed positive cases is 56 and the age range of all of our positive cases is from 9 to 101 years.

Overall, 51% of cases were Black, 42% White and 7% other/unknown.

The source of all local cases is as follows:

70 are Imported
90 are Local transmission, with known contact
21 are Local transmission with an unknown contact, and
none are under investigation

Bermuda’s country status remains “Sporadic Cases”. The seven-day average of our real time reproduction number is less than 1.

Minister Wilson's remarks

At last week’s press conference I responded to a media question regarding how we can safely partake in Halloween festivities this year. Today, I wish to elaborate further on my response and advise that local guidance has been created, based on CDC recommendations, and has been posted to Government’s social media accounts. It places various Halloween activities into three risk groups – either high-risk, medium-risk or low-risk and I will share them with you now…

Some low-risk activities which you can do safely this year include:

Carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household;
Decorating your house;
A virtual Halloween costume contest;
A Halloween movie night with people you live with;
And a trick-or-treat hunt with your household members in or around your own home.
Meanwhile, moderate-risk activities which you should do only if you can do them safely are:

One-way trick-or-treating where individually-wrapped goodie bags are lined up for families to grab and go - such as at the end of a driveway. (Note that you should wash your hands before preparing goodie bags);
A small outdoor costume parade where people are distanced more than 6 feet apart;
A costume party held outdoors where masks are used (costume masks do not count) and people can remain more than 6 feet apart;
Visiting pumpkin patches where the use of hand sanitizer, mask-wearing and physical distancing is enforced;
And having an outdoor Halloween movie night with local family friends with people spaced at least 6 feet apart.
And, finally, high-risk activities that you should definitely NOT do this year are as follows:

Traditional trick-or-treating where treats are handed to children who go door to door;
Crowded costume parties held indoors;
Going to an indoor haunted house where people may be crowded together and shouting or screaming; and
any activity congregating densely with people who are not in your household.
It certainly brings me no joy to discourage our usual Halloween activities this year. I know Halloween is a time which many of our children look forward to and a big part of that is traditional trick-or-treating. But I ask you to imagine the contact tracing hurdles that would arise if just one industrious trick-or-treater was COVID-19 positive. It’s not worth the risk.

This pandemic has certainly not been easy for any of us; perhaps least of all our children. Birthday parties have been put on hold, celebrations cancelled, trips postponed, everyone is suddenly now wearing a mask…It can be a confusing time for our children.

But we must continue to follow the guidance. I know it is tempting and I feel like the biggest Buzz Kill standing up here each week…but we must.

Our numbers are low because we have been so good at following government advice to this point. We need to keep going. As I have said before, this is not forever. Please, Bermuda, just hang in there for a while longer. As winter approaches and countries are seeing their second wave begin we cannot afford to let our guard down now.

Before I conclude this evening, I want to issue a reminder to travellers: Both visitors and residents must apply for a Bermuda COVID-19 Travel Authorisation when travelling to Bermuda. Travel Authorisations can be booked 1 to 3 days before departure and must be pre-vetted. Please do NOT wait until the day of travel to book your Travel Authorisation! Travel Authorisation applications are vetted between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. daily. For more information, please call the COVID-19 Helpline on 444-2498.

Also, finally, a note to employers – thank you to the majority of you who are following the Return to Work Guidance as best as possible. I understand that the reconfiguring of office spaces and schedules has not been easy. I also know that many of you want to go back to “normal”, pre-COVID-19 times….And that while you are instituting safe practices at work (such as mask-wearing and physical distancing), please bear in mind that if your employees can work from home or on a rotational schedule that is still the preferable situation. Remember a close contact in an office space, would be within 6 feet of someone even while wearing a mask, for more than 15 minutes. Consider what would happen if one of your team members is a close contact of a positive person and your entire team must quarantine, effectively meaning you lose your whole staff.

Stay safe, Bermuda, and, remember, I wear a mask to protect you; you wear a mask to protect me.

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