Minister of National Security Wayne Caines today confirmed a TNN report filed earlier today that a member of the Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service (BFRS), has contracted COVID-19.
In a statement released this afternoon, he said: “First and foremost, I wish to extend my appreciation and support to all our uniformed essential services workers who are on the frontlines doing their part to keep our community safe during this concerning time.”
The Minister noted that 98 BFRS members were screened for coronavirus last week, and this was “the single positive result”.
“On behalf of the Ministry our thoughts particularly go out to the BFRS officer affected,” he said.
“This situation reminds us of the occurrence of asymptomatic infections of COVID-19 and the importance of our continued attention to physical distancing, hand and respiratory hygiene to prevent the spread of the virus through the community.
“That said, I want to assure the public that the BFRS has activated its Pandemic Plan and the team member has been isolated. All close contact colleagues have been identified and quarantined.
“The Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit have been consulted to provide guidance and follow up.
“In response to contact tracing information we have undertaken to temporarily close two of our fire stations to allow for deep cleaning. These stations will resume normal services this evening and tomorrow, respectively.
“To ensure we continue to provide a robust emergency response to the Island, we have increased our resources at the Hamilton Station.
“Senior Officers have been redeployed to support emergency response at the western and eastern ends of the island, with additional support provided by the Eastern Volunteer Division.”
Meanwhile, the Airport Operations Division “continues to operate as normal, providing fire coverage for the LF Wade International Airport”.
Mr Caines concluded: “The mental health and welfare of our staff is our highest priority.
“We have the support of the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and have encouraged the utilization of their services.
“We recognize that all our emergency services personnel continue to face incredible risks on a daily basis as they carry out their duties.
“In that regard, I cannot stress enough how critically important it is that the public continue to adhere to the physical distancing guidelines that have been outlined by the Ministry of Health.
“As we have seen, this is a highly contagious virus that has taken the lives of seven Bermudians. Ultimately, this is about protecting and saving lives.
“And now more than ever, we urge the public to please be responsible in how they engage with others as they move around the island.”
The Ministry of Health also confirmed the positive test result, saying: “This individual was well and was being tested as part of the government’s screening of essential workers.
“The individual has been isolated from work and household contacts and will be monitored by healthcare professionals.
“Workplace contacts have been identified and will be quarantined, a spokeswoman said.
“This situation reminds us of the occurrence of asymptomatic infections of Covid-19 and the importance of our continued attention to physical distancing, hand and respiratory hygiene to prevent the spread of the virus through the community.
The testing of essential workers, including healthcare professionals, private home health aides and grocery store staff, will continue at the Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory at Southside, St David’s every day from 2pm to 7pm by appointment.
“Individuals attending appointments should be prepared to confirm their general practitioner and contact details to allow efficient communication of test results and appropriate public health action.”
Appointments can be booked at https://essentialworkers.resqwest.com.
This latest positive test result was one of 325 turned in to the Ministry this weekend, bringing the total number of confirmed cases up to 115.
There are currently 57 active cases, of which 41 persons are under active public health monitoring, and 16 persons are hospitalised.
A total of 51 people have now recovered, while the total deceased stands at seven.
The spokeswoman added: “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 95 years.
“The age of persons hospitalized ranges between 57 and 91 years, and the average age is 76.”