Bermuda has recorded its first two deaths as a result of COVID-19 as two new cases were announced on Monday, bringing the total number of cases to 39.
In making the announcement, Premier David Burt stated: “The evidence is real today – Bermudians are dying.”
Speaking at the first news conference to be held at the Cafetorium at The Berkeley Institute, he said: “We learned that, sadly, over the weekend a middle-aged individual passed away.
“This individual had shared a household with a person previously identified as positive for COVID-19.
“Consequently, a test was ordered on the deceased immediately and today the test was found positive.
“It appears this individual was not in good health generally, so at this time it is not possible to ascertain the exact cause of death.
“As required, this will be investigated by the coroner so for the time being we are not able to share any further details.
“The second individual is a senior who had been hospitalized and was one of the cases identified on April 4. This person was in stable condition yesterday, however passed away earlier today (April 6).
“Out of respect for the families of the deceased we ask that the media and members of the public allow them the time to grieve privately and respect the very sad loss they have experienced at this time.”
But there were concerns that the threat of this deadly virus was not being taken seriously.
“The purpose of these two weeks are for as many persons as possible to stay at home so we can reduce transmission that may exist in the country to save lives,” said Mr Burt.
“And for those persons who for some reason did not think that applied to them, the evidence is real today. Bermudians are dying. It is important. Stay home.”
National Security Minister Wayne Caines urged the public to minimise their movement as much as possible.
Police Commissioner Stephen Corbishley said the island continued to see “a continuing, albeit small trend” of people not observing guidelines.
As a result, he said police would increase their checkpoints, doubling them across the island.
Some of the excuses given to police had been “ridiculous” he said.
“Be sensible, take responsibility and follow the guidelines,” he added.
An extra complement of embodied Royal Bermuda Regiment soldiers to boost their numbers to 250 will also be added.
At last check, Mr Burt said 17 people have fully recovered from this deadly virus and six are in hospital in stable condition.
One of the new COVID-19 cases is now listed as stable in King Edward VII Memorial Hospital.
That patient flew home on a March 13 Delta Air Lines flight. They were not showing symptoms while on that flight.
As of Monday, there were 52 people under self-quarantine with public health supervision.
That number was down significantly from just over 1,200 people last week. But the numbers will rise again after residents stranded abroad arrived on a British Airways flight on Monday.
Four cases remain under investigation.
“Out of the 39 total cases, 17 people have recovered, six are hospitalized in stable condition, and 14 active cases under active public health monitoring,” said Mr Burt.
“The average age of the confirmed positive cases is 47-years-old, as is the median age is 47 and the age range is 18 – 83 years.
“The average age of those hospitalized is 71-years-old. Of the 39 cases, 23 are males and 16 females.
“A review of our overall testing numbers, show that out of the 306
tests that were conducted, 39
were positive, and 241 were negative and there are 26 pending results.”
Moving forward, he said: “The government will significantly increase its testing regime and aims to complete a significant number of tests over the next seven days.
“We aim to be testing frontline workers such as health care workers, persons who are working in our nursing homes, and persons who may have been exposed to confirmed cases.”
Health Minister Kim Wilson said worldwide shortages of tests presented challenges. But she said: “Every single avenue is being explored.”
She also noted that none of the COVID-19 patients in hospital were on ventilators.
Mr Burt closed his prepared remarks at 6.15pm, saying: “Tonight I want to end by again giving my condolences on behalf of the Government and people of Bermuda to the families tonight who are mourning their loss.”
More in subsequent reports.
- Top Feature Photos Courtesy of TNN