Social Distance Sign on the floor during COVID-19

Health Minister Kim Wilson announced tonight that “our positive case results are going in the right direction”, with only five new cases reported in the latest round of 512 tests.

But she warned that we are not out of the woods yet.

“So far, our recoveries are outpacing our number of positive cases. However, as I said last week, we are not out of the woods yet,” said Ms Wilson, who opened her remarks by offering sincere condolences “to everyone who has lost a family member, a friend, a neighbour or a colleague in circumstances related to the coronavirus”.

“Recently we have had a number of deaths, and my heart goes out to everyone who has lost a loved one during this pandemic.

“On behalf of the Government of Bermuda, I am so very sorry for your loss. We will keep you in our thoughts and prayers, as well as those currently in the hospital with COVID-19 related illness,” she added.

Two of the five new cases confirmed were classified as local transmission with known contact as they are associated with known cases.

The additional three (3) 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 13 recoveries and no deaths.

Of the 601 active cases, 570 are under public health monitoring and 31 are in the hospital, with eight (8) in critical care.

Since March 2020, Bermuda has recorded 2362 total confirmed cases of COVID-19; out of those, 1737 persons have recovered, and sadly, 24 persons have succumbed to COVID-19.

The Minister acknowledged that she knows the COVID restrictions that remain in place “is stressful news for some”.

“A lot of us are emotionally and mentally drained from this pandemic and the restrictions. I urge everyone to please be patient for the next couple of weeks, be extra vigilant and follow the regulations and guidelines,” she said.

“We are strong and resilient, we will get through this, and it will all be worth it. The more vigilant we are, the faster we will progress.

“I’m confident that if we continue to pull together as a community to eliminate local transmission and make sufficient progress, we can end restrictions on household mixing and enjoy interacting with friends and family again. We can also reopen schools and other facilities and services, and we can dine outdoors.” 

Now that the fifteenth full week of vaccinations has been completed, she said a total of 55,319 doses were administered between January 11 to April 24 – a figure that rises to 55,904 if you include vaccinations administered on Sunday and Monday as well.

Of the 55,319 vaccinations administered for the period we are reporting on, which ends April 24; 53 percent are women, and 47 percent are men and 73 percent of all residents over the age of 65 years have had at least one vaccination with 62 percent being fully immunised.

To date, 50 percent of the total population has been vaccinated (with 1 dose), and 37 percent of the population has been immunised (with 2 doses).

The Minister reiterated once again that “one of the Government’s primary objectives is to increase the avenues available to members of the public who wish to protect themselves and others by getting vaccinated”.

“With this objective in mind, we are pleased to announce the “Close to Home” Vaccination Initiative has been established, with vaccinations taking place at Penno’s Wharf today,” she said.

“The outreach programme to increase access to COVID-19 vaccines will continue with a ride through, drive-through and walk through venue at Southampton Princess, Thursday April 29, and Sunday, May 2, at TCD, from 10pm – 2pm. The drive-in venue is specifically for persons who have not yet registered for the COVID-19 vaccine, do not have access to the internet, and prefer to register in person or have additional questions about the COVID-19 vaccine.

“As a reminder, the Bermuda College vaccination centre will continue to be open for walk-ins from 9am to 1pm daily. Those with appointments at the College vaccination centre are asked to attend the Old Wing of KEMH for their vaccination. The vaccination hotline will be doing phone follow up calls to confirm those appointments.

“Getting vaccinated is something we can do for ourselves, our family and our community. Many have taken the step to protect themselves and their loved ones. Others are doing their research, listening to the facts, talking with their doctors and taking the time to decide for themselves and their families.” 

“For people who have decided not to get the vaccine, please remember that you have a role to play by knowing your status. Please make sure you get tested regularly to be sure that you are not carrying the virus. And you should continue to wear your mask and follow all public health guidelines.

“At this time, immunisation is our best hope to get our lives back to normal, but all of us, immunised or not, have a role to play,” she added.

“We are all looking forward to the day when we can go back to the old way of doing things. We are all looking beyond the pandemic.

“I do understand the challenges people are facing today. Many families in Bermuda are experiencing real emotional and financial hardships as the pandemic persists.

“I know it has been said in the past and remains true today. We are each our brothers and sisters keepers. If you can, we should help someone in need. We are a community of family, friends and colleagues who have supported and continue to support each other.

“Financial help is available through the Department of Financial Assistance. There are helping agencies available to provide support; likewise, there is help for emotional challenges many of us are facing. The Emotional Wellbeing Hotline is 543-1111 for support from 5pm to 9pm, Monday to Saturday.

“Each of us has a role to play in stopping the spread of the coronavirus.”