Photo Courtesy of TNN

Bermuda now has a total of 110 confirmed cases of COVID-19 now that the latest set of 388 test results are in with only one positive for the lethal coronavirus.

Health Minister Kim Wilson noted that “another COVID-19 related death” was recorded this weekend bringing the total number of deaths to six.

“On behalf of my entire team at the Ministry of Health, I want to extend my sincere condolences to the family and friends of this individual. We know you must be hurting deeply right now; and Bermuda grieves with you,” she said.

The status of the 110 confirmed positive cases is as follows:

  • there are 60 active cases, of which
  • 47 persons are under active public health monitoring, and
  • 13 persons are hospitalized;
  • a total of 44 have now recovered, and
  • the total deceased is now 6

The average age of all the cases is 59 and the age range of all of our positive cases is from 18 to 95 years. The age of persons hospitalized ranges between 57 and 89 years, and the average age is 75.

Meanwhile, the Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit has begun collecting race data.

Minister Wilson said the preliminary report shows that 52 percent of cases have been Black, 39 percent were White and 9 percent unknown.

She also also issued a reminder that “race is a question that should be asked of individuals and not assumed”.

“Persons also have the right to refuse to answer the question,” she added.

“We also must do our best to preserve privacy and confidentiality of persons diagnosed with coronavirus and therefore there must be enough aggregate information (ie a large number of cases) in order to provide information in a way that would not lead to an inadvertent identification of any individual.”

On the timelines for testing at Westmeath Residential and Nursing Home the Minister stated: “At the time of the first case, on April 10, we simply did not have enough testing swabs & VTM to be able to test all the residents and staff at Westmeath.

“Public health action took place immediately and the case was successfully isolated protecting other persons at the home – indeed, the subsequent cases found were unrelated to the first case.

“We had to choose between testing symptomatic individuals elsewhere and asymptomatic individuals at Westmeath.

“Going forward, I can say this: Now that we have increased testing capacity; we are actively testing all staff and residents in all rest homes.

“I can confirm that we have tested four care homes so far, starting with the homes where there had been cases. All residents have been tested and staff continue to be tested. There have been no additional residents found positive.

“We continue our wider roll-out of testing to all care homes.

“The issue of ‘Which homes we test first’ is a risk-based decision, based on fact…and is in no way random,” she added.

“We look at risk factors to guide these decisions – eg homes where a large proportion of staff worked in other places, or any homes with an epidemiological link to a case. This takes a careful exploration through contact tracing.

“Whether testing occurs in a home or not – the action which is taken is the same whenever we have a case…the wearing of PPE, physical distancing, contact tracing and the isolating of ill individuals.

“Without implementing those steps, testing has limited use.

“We also continue to test essential workers – we have performed approximately 229 tests to date for essential workers.”

On “the damaging allegations being circulated regarding the Government’s new laboratory and Dr Carika Weldon”, the Minister reiterated her previous statement that “these unfounded claims of illegal or illegitimate testing are irresponsible and entirely false”.

“They damage public confidence at a time that unity is paramount, and they risk causing wholly unjustified reputational damage to highly trained professionals trying to focus on fighting COVID-19, said the Minister.

“All testing done by the Government is utilizing valid real time PCR equipment that is FDA approved, and we will accept nothing less.

“They are being reported to our physicians, to the public, and to our international partners. The Government stands by the results of these tests and we’re pleased to have additional testing capacity.”

In closing, the Minister issued another reminder that “hospital beds are still needed by the country”.

“They are needed by the people who fall seriously ill and need hospital care.

“Therefore, I would like to reissue my call to those members of the public with loved ones at the hospital who are medically fit to leave, to please work with KEMH to receive your family members…so that all possible beds are available if the need arises.”