Health Minister Kim Wilson stated outright tonight that the island’s COVID situation is “critical”, and that it is “only a matter of time before the situation is unmanageable”.

The grim warning came as Bermuda sadly recorded another COVID related death as the number of active cases jumped to 1,238, with nearly 200 new cases- 191to be exact, with 51 patients in hospital and 13 in intensive care.

The latest figures were released after health officials received the latest round of 3,543 test results from Tuesday (Sept 14).

This outbreak continues to spread fast – it is everywhere in our community and, at the risk of causing panic, it is only a matter of time before the situation is unmanageable,” said the Minister.

The hospital, public and private labs, contact tracers, testers, indeed, our entire healthcare sector, are all under tremendous pressure.

They are doing a fabulous job and I cannot commend them enough.

But we must all do our part to help ease this pressure,” she added.

“Sadly, tonight I am reporting another COVID-related death.

I extend heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of the deceased. Our thoughts and prayers remain with you at this time.”

Ten (10) of the new cases were classified as imported with a history of travel in the previous 14 days, while the remaining 181 new cases were classified as either local transmission or remain under investigation. 

Since March 2020, Bermuda has recorded 4218 confirmed coronavirus cases, out of which 2942 have recovered, and sadly 38 COVID related deaths.

Active cases by vaccination status, transmission, and type:

•        Imported cases: 84% are fully vaccinated, and 16% are not vaccinated

•        Local/Under Investigation cases: 27% are fully vaccinated, and 73% are not vaccinated

•         Variant typing is not available at this time due to the prioritisation of test results.

The source of all confirmed cases is as follows:

•        549 are Imported

•        2,648 are classified as local transmission of which:

o   2,121 are Local transmission with known contact/source and

o   528 are Local transmission with an unknown contact/source

•        1,021 are Under Investigation

“To be exceptionally clear, please take individual responsibility for your health and safety. I cannot stress enough how important it is to follow all public health guidance,” said Ms Wilson.

She also repeated the call for people to “wear a mask at all times when you are within 6 ft of other people” and “avoid crowded places and closed spaces”.

“Please Bermuda, minimise your movements and keep to your family bubbles,” she added.

She also noted that the Bermuda Advisory Committee on Immunisation Practices (BACIP) met on Thursday and agreed that booster vaccines be recommended for Bermuda.

“This is great news,” she said. “The recommended target groups for booster vaccines are persons who have immunosuppressing conditions and Chronic Health Diseases, health care workers, essential workers and persons older than 50.

“Boosters will be an mRNA vaccine, such as the Pfizer, and will be given six months from the primary course of vaccination. The Ministry of Health is currently working out the delivery details.

“I am also pleased to announce that over the weekend we are launching a new automated process for notifying COVID positive patients and named close contacts of their status and their need to isolate or quarantine,” she added.

“We are seeing far too many cases appear because people are either going to work ill, or sending their children to school or camps with symptoms. 

“Also, please take your medically fit for discharge family members home. The hospital is under tremendous pressure, and they need the space for additional admissions, not all of which are COVID related. An overwhelmed hospital with no available beds puts critically ill patients at risk. Anyone who can be discharged must leave the hospital to free up much-needed bed space.”

In closing, the Minister said: “Bermuda, we are in a very serious situation and in order to get through this, we must take responsibility for ourselves and others in our community.