COVID-19 Update Minister of Health’s Remarks 6 April 2021

Tuesday, April 6th, 2021

Thank you Premier. Good afternoon.

I echo the comments of the Premier and extend sincere condolences to the families and friends who lost loved ones this past weekend.

I will now provide an update on COVID-19.

There were 731 test results received by the Ministry of Health since the last update and 28 were positive for COVID-19. This gives a test positivity rate of 3.8%. 

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

·         1 resident who arrived on American Airlines AA 308 from Miami on 21 March 2021 and tested positive on their Day 14 test

·         1 non-resident who arrived on Delta Airlines DL 584 from Atlanta on 27 March 2021 and tested positive on their Day 8 test

·         4 residents who arrived on American Airlines AA 308 from Miami on 31 March 2021 and tested positive on their Day 4 test

13 of the new cases are classified as local transmission with known contact as associated with known cases.

The additional 9 new cases are classified as under investigation. These cases are among residents with no currently identified link to other known cases or history of travel in the past 14 days.

There were 14 recoveries and 0 deaths.

Bermuda has 1497 total confirmed positive cases. Their status is as follows.

·         There are 670 active cases, of which

o   649 are under public health monitoring and

o   21 are in hospital with 6 in intensive care;

·         a total of 813 have recovered, and

·         the total deceased is now 14.

The mean age of all confirmed positive cases is 41 years (median: 39 years) and the ages range from less than 1 year to greater than 100 years.

The mean age of all currently active cases is 41 years (median: 40 years) and the ages range from less than 10 years (age group: 0-9 years) to greater than 80 years (age group: 80-100 years).

The mean age of all hospitalized cases is 60 years (median: 57 years) and the ages range from less than 30 years (age group: 20-29 years) to greater than 80 years (age group: 80-100 years). 

The mean age of all deceased cases is 75 years (median: 77 years) and the ages range from less than 60 years (age group: 50-59 years) to greater than 80 years (age group: 80-100 years).

The source of all cases is as follows:

·         251 are Imported

·         998 are classified as local transmission of which:

906 are Local transmission with known contact/source and 

92 are Local transmission with an unknown contact/source

·         248 are Under Investigation

As investigations proceed, transmission categories may change. Today’s update has 29 cases moving from under investigation to local transmission with known contact/source.

Of the over 200,000 test results reported, the mean age of all persons tested is 43 years (median:  42 years) and the ages range from less than 1 year to greater than 100 years.

The seven-day average of our real time reproduction number is above 1 (1.26).

I will now provide an update on our vaccine programme.

We have completed the twelfth full week of vaccinations. From January 11 to April 3, 2021, Bermuda has administered a total of 41,152 vaccinations – a figure that rises to 42,038 if you include yesterday's vaccinations as well! – all of which is very good news and ranks us as 8th in the world for vaccinations.

Of the 41,152 vaccinations administered for the period we are reporting on, which ends April 3rd;

  • 54% are women, and,
  • 46% are men.

Bermuda's goal of "herd immunity" will be achieved when 70% of the population (64,054) has been immunised. To date, 37% of the population has been vaccinated (with 1 dose), and 27% of the population has been immunised (with 2 doses).

3,364 vaccinations were delivered during the week of March 28 – April 3rd. The public has accessed these vaccines as follows:

  • the Vaccination Centre at Bermuda College administered 25,440 or 62% of vaccinations,
  • 14,692 or 36% were administered at the Bermuda Hospitals Board Vaccination Centre, and,
  • 1,020 or 2% were administered at Other Vaccination Sites.

Significant progress has been made in vaccinating our population and, especially, our most vulnerable. 

64% of all residents over the age of 65 years have had at least one vaccination with 54% being fully immunised. 

52% of individuals between 50 and 64 years of age have received at least one vaccination with 39% being fully immunised. 

22% of residents less than 50 years of age have been vaccinated with at least one dose which represents 1,728 vaccinations in this age group this week. This lower overall number is what we would expect as this group falls into Phase 3 which has just been open for two weeks. Uptake among this younger age groups is strong but I want to encourage all those under the age of 50 to register to get vaccinated. At present, only 41% of those in this group eligible to register have done so.  

Vaccinations are continuing at a steady pace and we are seeing both the number vaccinated and the number immunized climbing steadily each week.

These are excellent results so far, and I would like to thank all those who have taken the step to get their vaccination to protect themselves, their families and our community.

I want to remind residents that we need everyone who can, to get vaccinated! Anyone 16-years-old or older can get a vaccination appointment as we are now in phase 3. Anyone who is between 16 and 18-years-old must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Priority will continue to be given to our more vulnerable populations, including seniors and those with medical conditions.  If you have not already registered, please do so by completing the registration form at: vaccine.resqwest.com/web.

Please remember that you will not be vaccinated if you have travelled in the last 14 days. You MUST have a day 14 negative test result to get either your first or second dose.

Also, if you are in quarantine, do not attend your vaccination appointment. Let the Vaccine Programme know that you are in quarantine and will miss your appointment. The appointment can be rescheduled, and if it is your second appointment, it can be rescheduled up to 12 weeks from the first appointment.

Every dose of the vaccine is extremely important, so if you are unavailable to make your appointment, please call the Hotline at 444-2498 (Option #2) or email vaccine@gov.bm. You may also email vaccine@gov.bm if you require a Vaccine Certificate.

We are doing a tremendous job administering vaccinations, now ranking 8th in the world, but we cannot rest on our laurels. The more often people take non-essential trips abroad or take unnecessary risks in group gatherings, for example – the longer it will take our community to get vaccinated and protect ourselves. This is because we cannot vaccinate recent travelers or people who are in quarantine or isolation. However, the faster we get to herd immunity, the less likely COVID-19 can get a foothold in our community and the quicker we get back to a new normal.

The question has been asked many times by members of the public whether or not people who have been vaccinated can test positive for COVID-19. If you have been immunized, the risk of you getting the disease is low but vaccinations don’t completely stop you from getting it. However, the COVID-19 vaccine does lessen the severity of the disease and its symptoms. 

A person who has been vaccinated can have the coronavirus but show no symptoms or have only mild symptoms of the disease, and that person might pass the virus on to family, friends and colleagues. The research on this is still underway. However, it would appear that those who are immunised do have a lower viral load of the coronavirus. Notwithstanding, and because the science is not yet conclusive, it is important that everyone continues to follow the guidelines of wearing a mask, practicing good hand hygiene and maintaining physical distance. 

We each have a role to play in stopping the spread of the virus. Those of you who can, must work from home, this is the law. Keep your social bubbles limited to the people in your house.

There is testing available. The next walk-in pop up testing will take place at Horseshoe Bay Beach tomorrow from 4:30pm to 7:30pm. Anyone who wants to get tested can. However, if you are in quarantine, you must not get tested before your 14 day test.

What we are finding is that people have decided they want to get a test before Day 14 and use a different name - perhaps their middle name. We ask people not to do this. The Ministry of Health staff, working closely with MDL, have discovered these attempts to get around the system.

I understand that it is tedious and it can be frustrating being in quarantine, however it is important that all the quarantine measures are followed fully to help to stop the spread of this highly contagious variant of the coronavirus.

If you have a medical emergency, please do not delay going to the hospital for fear of contracting the coronavirus. The hospital is taking every precaution to keep patients and staff safe. BHB is seeing fewer people attend Emergency than usual and are concerned that people who need Emergency care might delay going to the hospital. Dr. Miller has joined today’s press conference and can answer any questions the media may have.

I will remind people who are over the age of 65 and want to get vaccinated that they can go to the Bermuda College Vaccination Centre between 8am and 9am without an appointment. This walk-in option is available for people 65 years and older only.

Also, if you have not already, you need to download the WeHealth app, which is designed to help slow the spread of COVID-19 by anonymously notifying app users of potential exposure to COVID-19. 

Once we have the virus under control, we can relax the restrictions, but not until we have it under control. Please, everyone, do your part to help us get this under control.

Thank you.

 

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