Bermuda moved one step closer toward the 100 mark when the total number of COVID-19 cases hit 99 last night.

Health Minister Kim Wilson said only one test came back positive out of the 17 new results.

There are now 55 active cases, 44 are under public health monitoring conditions with 11 patients being treated in hospital.

As of Wednesday there were three cases of this deadly virus at Westmeath seniors’ home.

According to the Minister, two employees and one patient tested positive.

“Matilda Smith Williams seniors residence in Devonshire was the first home to report an outbreak, with one of its residents the island’s fifth and most recent death caused by the virus,” said Ms Wilson.

“We have been working closely with the Administrator since the first case was identified on 10th April and have now started the process to test all residents and staff,” she added.

Since the first case was identified on April 10, she said: “That individual has been in quarantine until today (Weds). All close contacts were also quarantined.

“Guidance was given by the Ministry of Health to the home to quarantine four members of staff who had been in close contact with that individual.

“All staff were monitoring their temperature daily, wearing a mask throughout their shifts and wearing work uniform during working hours only. Since then, there were two further cases identified on April 14 and 20 April respectively.”

Regarding questions “about why the entire home was not tested earlier, with the first case identified on April 10th”, admittedly, she said: “Case criteria was not met given the testing capacity at the time.

Photo Courtesy of TNN

“The second case was unrelated to the first and isolated fully.

“It is now that we have the capacity to test more extensively that we are doing so,” she added.

Meanwhile, Chief Medical Officer, Dr Cheryl Peek-Ball said she was not aware of any cases of COVID-19 at any other rest homes in Bermuda.

She also said no connection was established between the first case at Westmeath and the other cases at the home.

The Minister also noted that further actions taken by the Ministry’s Health Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit with respect to providing support to Westmeath included:

  • Meeting with the acting Executive Director
  • Provided guidance on the strategy to manage the outbreak on receipt of test and other investigation results
  • PPE training is being arrange
  • Supplies are being provided as needed
  • Working with the home with respect to infection, prevention and control practices
  • Additional outbreak control and mitigation measures are recommended as below:
    • Keep families, staff and residents informed about the outbreak
    • No new resident admissions are allowed until the outbreak is over
    • Monitor residents for any new respiratory symptoms [e.g. cough, shortness of breath] or fever;
    • Quickly identify and isolate any resident with symptoms of acute respiratory illness or fever;
    • Report any suspected COVID-19 illness or new respiratory illness/fever in residents or staff to the Ministry of Health
    • Discontinue all non-essential activities;
    • Discontinue all communal activities/gatherings;
    • Where possible, encourage family members to keep in touch with loved ones by phone or video chat or other technologies, as available.

“As has been explained previously, testing capacity is complex and Bermuda had been in a challenging position due to the global shortage of supplies,” Minister Wilson added.

“We are relieved that we now have more extensive capacity and are able to ramp up our testing regime.”

In the interim, she said: “The Ministry and Bermuda Health Council have been working diligently with all care homes on the island to control the spread of the virus among our most vulnerable.

“Having increased our testing capacity this week, we are now undertaking to conduct testing in all rest homes as a matter of priority.”

With a total of 99 confirmed cases in Bermuda, their status is as follows:

  • there are 55 active cases, of which
  • 44 persons are under active public health monitoring, and
  • 11 persons are hospitalized;
  • a total of 39 have now recovered, and
  • the total deceased remains at 5.

The average age of all of our confirmed positive cases is 56 and the age range of all of our positive cases is from 18 to 91 years. The age of persons hospitalized ranges between 57 and 91 years, and the average age is 74.