COVID-19 Briefing Minister of Health’s Remarks 6 October 2021

Wednesday, October 6th, 2021

Good afternoon.

I begin my remarks today by offering heartfelt condolences to the friends and families of those mourning the loss of a loved one to circumstances related to the coronavirus in recent weeks. You remain in my thoughts and prayers.


It does appear that our numbers are trending in the right direction, and our active cases are decreasing. I want to thank everyone for doing their part and making an effort to stop the spread of this aggressive Delta Variant.


However, we must not be complacent. We must not let our guard down, and we must continue to do everything we can to avoid getting infected with COVID-19.

We have completed week 38 of vaccinations, and since January 11, Bermuda has administered a total of 87,723 vaccinations.

Of the 87,723 vaccinations given as of October 2:
 52% are women and,
 48% are men
84.6% of all residents over the age of 65 years have had at least one vaccination and
82.8% are fully immunised.
To date, 68.9% of the population has been vaccinated (1 dose), and 66.7% of the population has been immunised (2 doses).

 From January 11, 2021, when Bermuda’s vaccine campaign began, to Epi Week 39 ending October 2, 2021, Bermuda’s Covid-19 hospitalisations and deaths of vaccinated and unvaccinated persons are as follows:

276 hospitalisations [including repeat admissions] of which:
  249 or 90% were persons who were not fully vaccinated, and,
 27 or 10% were fully vaccinated.

 To October 2, Bermuda has also sadly had 67 deaths, of which:
  55 or 82% were not fully vaccinated
 12 or 18% were fully vaccinated
 

The COVID-19 vaccine remains our best defence in preventing the spread of this virus. It will decrease symptoms and severe illness and, in most cases, prevent death.
We are offering free COVID-19 vaccinations at the Hamilton Princess in the Harbourview Ballroom on the following dates:

 Friday, October 8, from 3 pm to 7 pm
 Sunday, October 10, from 1 pm to 5 pm

Complimentary parking is available, as well as refreshments and sweet treats generously provided by the Hamilton Princess.

Those who have decided to get vaccinated can go to Hamilton Princess, book an appointment, or walk into the KEMH Vaccination Clinic on Tuesday and Thursday, 4 to 7 pm, and Saturday, 8 am to 4 pm. Medical doctors will be at Hamilton Princess and KEMH to answer any questions about COVID-19 and the vaccines.

Tomorrow, we will receive 11,700 vaccine doses from the United Kingdom and begin administering boosters this Saturday 9th October and Sunday 10th October at the rest homes and the King Edward Memorial Hospital vaccine centre, respectively. The rest homes residents and staff will receive boosters, and those that are interested in being newly vaccinated at the rest homes will also have an opportunity to receive first doses at this time as well.

The KEMH vaccine Centre has committed to the following booster schedule: Sundays and Wednesday 8am to 8pm, and Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays will remain dedicated to 1st and 2nd doses.

A second vaccine centre is scheduled to open the week of October 12th, at the National Sports Centre for persons 65 and over.

Persons are eligible for the booster vaccine after 6 months of the second dose. In addition to the rest home, we will begin our booster roll-out with those who have the highest risk of getting infected which are the immunosuppressed persons.
Immunosuppressed are those with underlying conditions that make them highly at risk of severe illness if they were to contract COVID-19. The following categories for the roll out will be those that are 65 and over and then healthcare workers. The roll out is designed to ensure those that are vulnerable and those that work in high risk environments are a priority for the booster vaccine.

In addition to starting booster at the rest homes, an antigen testing program is in its final stages of development at rest home staff. This additional screening, along with the booster deployment, will provide more tools to effectively assist in mitigating mass outbreaks in rest homes.

I will remind residents intending to travel to the UK who have been fully immunised in Bermuda with the Pfizer vaccine, who do not wish to quarantine whilst in the UK, can request a proof of UK vaccination confirmation letter. The letter is a UK Government requirement for all overseas territories which verifies you have received a vaccine prescribed by way the UK vaccine distribution programme. You can generate the letter yourself by going to: https://www.gov.bm/vaccine-certificate. The process is quick and simple and similar to the way in which you would self-generate the safekey.

The UK vaccination confirmation letter cannot be generated for residents who have had their doses overseas or those who received a vaccine type other than Pfizer. Using this process requires an email address tied to your local vaccine record.

Those who cannot use the automated process can call 444-2498 option 2 to request to have the letter generated, but there will be wait times associated with using this option due to the high demand. Requestors must be ready to provide their passport number to generate the letter.

Finally, just a quick reminder that the Ministry of National Security, the Bermuda Police Service (BPS) and the Ministry of Health have introduced fixed penalty tickets, which allows for a Police Officer or a Public Health Compliance Officer to enforce the COVID- 19 regulations to issue on the spot tickets on any individual, business or organisation in contravention of the law.

The fixed penalty tickets are almost identical to the standard traffic ticket and filled out in the same way. A person will be invited to sign the ticket and will then be given the summons portion, which contains information on where to pay the $500 fixed penalty at the Hamilton Magistrates’ Court.

Another matter I want to raise before I end is that due to the sheer number of cases, we require the public’s assistance in contacting close contacts to reduce further spread.
Please provide an email address on your COVID test booking if you want to benefit from this speedier automated notification process. We all must work together to help stop the spread of the virus in our community. When a test result comes back positive, persons will be notified via the email address provided on their test booking.

The notification email will include necessary information on the steps the person who tested must take concerning isolation and other matters. It will also include a link to an online form that allows the positive person to list their close contacts to be notified about their exposure without disclosing who the positive person is.

Please remember, we must all do our part to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Continue to follow public health guidelines, wear a mask, practice good hand hygiene, maintain physical distance and download the WeHealth Bermuda app.

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