Bermuda now has a total of 125 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

According to Health Minister Kim Wilson, the latest 532 test results received on Monday turned up two more positive results, bringing the total number of active cases to 39.

Another 35 persons are under active public health monitoring.

But the good news today is the number of patients hospitalised as a result of this deadly virus is down to four, with two in critical care.

A total of 77 have now recovered, and the number of people who lost their lives to this virus remains at nine.

The average age of all of our confirmed positive cases is 59 and the age range of all of our positive cases is from 18 to 101 years.

The average age of persons hospitalized is 74 and their age ranges from 70 to 78 years.

The average age of all deceased cases is 74 and the age range is 57 to 91 years.

The source of all local cases is as follows:

  • 39 are Imported
  • 74 are Local transmission, with known contact
  • 8 are Local transmission with an unknown contact, and
  • 4 are under investigation

Bermuda’s country status remains “Local Transmission – Cluster of Cases”.

“As we move into Phase 2, the Ministry of Health will be creating clear guidance instructing what permitted businesses must do during this phase and what it means for certain sectors,” said Minister Wilson.

“One such guidance note that has been created for Phase 2 is Personal Services Guidance for the Consumer regarding the limited operation of beauty, hair and barber shops…and I stress the word ‘limited’.

“Under Phase 2, hair services including hair cutting, styling, and barbering services will be permitted. Services requiring hair washing are permitted but clients should be encouraged to come with prewashed hair for express services unless chemical services are scheduled. Pedicures and manicures including gel and acrylic nails will also be permitted.”

Not permitted under Phase 2 are beauty services requiring:

• A client to disrobe (such as massages, body wraps or waxing)
• Permanent makeup (eye or lip liner) or any tattoo-type services, electrolysis, or laser hair removal and
• Extensive touching of a client’s body (such as shoulder or back massages, pedicures and manicures with add-on massages or paraffin wax treatments).

“The reason for these prohibitions is that they require excessively close contact and touching a client’s face and body. These activities dramatically increase the risk of spreading COVID-19, so are very high risk and cannot be permitted,” said Ms Wilson.

“While it is true that in healthcare settings it is sometimes necessary to touch and get very close to a patient at times, this is done only when medically necessary and with appropriate PPE. Grooming and beauty treatments are not essential care that could justify the level of risk. So, ladies and gentlemen, in Phase 2 these treatment cannot be permitted.

“In addition, mobile services or home visits are NOT permitted in Phase 2. Again, the reason for this prohibition is that it would increase the risk of spreading COVID-19. Performing these services underground, outside regulated premises will simply pose a health risk for the stylist, the client and their families. So do not attempt to undertake this activity. Mobile or home beauty services are just not allowed during Phase 2.

“Salons operating during Phase 2 should take a number of steps to prepare to serve you safely during this period. These measures will help to protect you, the customer, and those providing the service.”

They include the following:

1. Signage: You should expect to see additional signage indicating that your salon has taken steps to prepare to serve you safely during this phase.

2. Physical Distancing Policies, Barriers and Shields: Your salon may have implemented physical barriers at service counters, between stations or you may notice that the salon serves less customers while you are there. These efforts are important for physical distancing.

3. Increased Hand washing and Use of Sanitizer: You should be asked to sanitize your hands immediately upon entering the premises. You should notice increased hand washing and cleaning from your stylist.

4. Questionnaires about your Health: To protect the stylist, you will be asked questions about your health. Do not attend if you are unwell, or if you have been around someone who has symptoms of COVID-19.

5. Recording of Client Contact details for Contact Tracing: Be prepared to provide more information. Public health officials may require additional information during an outbreak. Your salon should ask for detailed contact information for this purpose.

6. Increased Cleaning and Sanitizing of the Salon: Cleaning in between customers must occur for chairs, touch points, and work spaces. Be patient as salons complete this in between clients.

7. Use of Mask[s] and other PPE: Personnel in the salon must be wearing a mask and you must wear one while there. If you forget your mask, call ahead to see if your salon provides them. I should note that businesses and patrons are responsible for providing their own PPE.

8. Increased Cleaning of Tools, Brushes and Implements: Your salon must always provide clean tools [clippers, guides, brushes and combs] and new disposable implements [nail files and buffers]. If you are unsure, ask questions.

“Further guidance will be posted over the coming days for other permitted businesses including retail and restaurants which will be open for outdoor dining only,” she added.

“Lastly, the public will be aware the bus services are intended to resume with a 3 foot distancing requirement and mandated mask-wearing on buses. This reduced physical distancing has been permitted by public health on public transport ONLY as it is an essential activity for the resumption of work and economic life. Its necessity justifies the risk, and it is mitigated by the mandatory mask-wearing. The masks reduce the risk, but the physical distance should be as great as possible in all other settings. It is the combined measures of hand hygiene, physical distance and mask wearing that create protection.

“Other jurisdictions are adopting similar measures in order for public transport to be able to operate.”

For those relying on public transportation please be mindful of the following, in addition to the requirement for wearing a face mask:

  • keep a distance from fellow travellers to a minimum of 3 feet,
  • avoid rush hours is possible,
  • try as much as possible to face away from other travellers,
  • avoid physical contact and
  • cover your face when coughing or sneezing.

“The key thing is to not be too close to other people for more than a short amount of time, as much as you can. The risk of infection increases the closer you are to another person with the virus and the amount of time you spend in close contact: you are very unlikely to be infected from just walking past another person to take up your seat, 3 feet away,” Ms Wilson said.

“I end by reminding us all that if we do not adhere to public health requirements we will see increased cases of COVID, increased hospitalizations and increased deaths.

“As we transit through the reopening phases, it is not to return life to normal – it will never be normal again while there is no vaccine or cure for COVID. The phases aim to allow time for cultural and behavioural change, so that, together, we can prevent having to Shelter in Place again in the future.

“The new normal is all about hand-hygiene, physical distancing and mask-wearing for all of us. We must to integrate this into our daily lives to ensure safe passage through Phase 2.”

  • Top Feature Photos Courtesy of TNN