The Ministry of Health reported nearly 400 active cases of COVID-19 in Bermuda, with another 108 new cases confirmed in the latest round of 3,038 test results on Monday (March 29).
There are currently 396 people with the virus right now.
Only one of the new cases was imported by a returning resident who arrived on a JetBlue flight from New York on March 26 and tested positive on their arrival test.
A Ministry spokeswoman said: “Thirty-five of the new cases are classified as local transmission with known contact as associated with known cases.
“The additional 72 new cases are classified as under investigation. These cases are among residents with no currently identified link to other known cases or history of travel in the past 14 days.
“Additionally, since the last update, there were six recoveries.”
The breakdown on the 396 active cases:
· 395 are under public health monitoring and;
· One is in the hospital, and none are in critical care.
“Since March 2020, Bermuda has recorded 1136 total confirmed cases of COVID-19; out of those, 728 persons have recovered, and 12 persons have sadly succumbed to COVID-19,” the spokeswoman added.
The source of all cases is as follows:
· 241 are imported;
· 753 are classified as local transmission of which:
o 661 are local transmission with known contact/source; and
o 92 are local transmission with an unknown contact/source.
· 142 are under investigation.
As investigations proceed, transmission categories may change.
Of the over 190,000 test results reported, the mean age of all persons tested is 43 years (median: 42 years), and the ages range from less than one year to greater than 100 years.
“The seven-day average of our real-time reproduction number is above one, and Bermuda’s current country status remains ‘Sporadic Cases’ (as determined by the World Health Organisation) and ‘Community Transmission’ (as determined by the Pan-American Health Organisation).”
She also noted that ‘sporadic cases’ means having a few cases, which may be imported or locally acquired.
“However ‘community transmission’ signifies outbreaks where it is difficult to relate confirmed cases through chains of transmission for large number of cases or there are widely dispersed cases detected in the past 14 days. Bermuda exhibits signs of both these situations.”
The Minister, Kim Wilson said: “The recent increase in numbers means that the COVID-19 helpline and the vaccination helpline are overwhelmed, receiving three times the number of calls that we normally would in a day. The helpline usually receives up to 600 calls a day.”
On Monday (March 29), she said they received nearly 1,800 calls by 4pm.
“We ask everyone for patience as we get more resources and increase the number of phone lines to accommodate those who have questions about the coronavirus and who want to book appointments to get the vaccine.
“Additionally, there is a delay with contact tracers communicating with those who have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive.
“The number of positive cases over the past few days indicates the volume of calls that need to be made. If each positive case was in contact with only four or five people that means, each of those people must be contacted and asked to get tested. We know many people who have tested positive have been in contact with tens of people. We are asking for patience.
“Everyone who lives in Bermuda must recognize that we each have to change our behavior immediately and reduce the number of people we come in contact with. This includes avoiding indoor meetings, restricting social activities and you must keep your social bubbles small. Do not mix with anyone who is not a member of your household. If you can work from home, you are required by law to do so. We all have a responsibility to stop the spread of the virus. Whenever you are outside your home, you should continue to wear a mask, physically distance and practice good hand hygiene.
“If you have been tested to ‘know your status’ and you are waiting for your results, wear a mask at home and if you can, quarantine until you receive your results. If you have been told to quarantine, then please do so.
“There are pop ups testing locations available this week and next. I urge everyone to go and get tested. If you think you may have been exposed to someone who is awaiting results or who has tested positive, you don’t have to wait. Visit one of the pop up locations. Spots are available on a first come, first served basis.
“Walk in and drive in pop-up testing is next available at TCD, on North Street, on Wednesday, March 31 from 5:30pm – 7:30pm. A second pop-up testing location is planned for next week, Monday 5 April and Wednesday 7 April at Horseshoe Bay Beach car park from 4:30pm – 7:30pm.
“You don’t need an appointment, you don’t need to get out of your car. You show up and you will be tested. Today (March 29) we saw long lines at TCD before the testing centre opened. This is encouraging because people are taking advantage of the free testing. Thank you to the Bermuda Police Service and the Royal Bermuda Regiment who helped to direct traffic.”
Minister Wilson concluded: “Bermuda is currently in Phase 3, the final phase of the vaccine allocation strategy, allowing anyone over the age of 16 to get vaccinated.
“Although priority will be given to those aged 65 and over, everyone can now register to be vaccinated. I urge everyone to register an interest to get vaccinated by going to gov.bm and clicking COVID-19 Vaccine Registration.”