With 166 total confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in Bermuda to date, Health Minister Kim Wilson said there currently ten active cases on island – all under active public health montitoring.
Speaking at the latest briefing on Thursday, the Minister said 61 of the total number of cases recorded were imported.
The good news, 147 people who contracted the coronavirus have fully recovered and the total deceased remains at nine.
As of Thursday, there were 1,149 test results received by the Ministry of Health, and none were positive for COVID-19.
“The average age of all of our confirmed positive cases is 58 and the age range of all of our positive cases is from 18 to 101 years,” said Ms Wilson.
The source of all local cases is as follows:
- 61 are Imported
- 85 are Local transmission, with known contact
- 19 are Local transmission with an unknown contact, and
- 1 is under investigation
Bermuda’s country status remains “Sporadic Cases”. The seven-day average of our real time reproduction number is less than 1.
The Ministry of Health was advised on Monday “that there were four new COVID-19 cases; three imported and one under investigation”.
“All are isolated and contact tracing began immediately,” said the Minister.
“There has been much public speculation regarding one of the cases – and the movements of that particular individual.
“I can advise you today (August 20) that staff from the Department of Health have since visited the places where that traveller went prior to receiving their positive test result. This included a number of restaurants, a gym, and a leisure boat. Staff visited for contact tracing purposes, to answer any questions or concerns from individuals working in those venues and to ensure that appropriate cleaning and health protocols were in place.
“Some have wondered why the Ministry did not name those locations in the media…I think this would be a good time to clarify that Public Health is guided by the principal to only publically name an establishment or business when there is an ongoing threat to the public or when there is no way that ESU can contact-trace persons at that place. In this instance, neither of those situations applied.
“We must be aware of the negative impact the naming of an establishment could have on them; to be branded with an unfair stigma which may affect the livelihoods of those working there. If they choose to publically name themselves that is their prerogative. But please don’t misunderstand me…Be assured that we would never put anyone’s health in jeopardy for the sake of a business’s privacy,” she said.
“It’s important to note that two of Monday’s new cases were recent travellers who had negative pre-departure tests and negative arrival tests…and didn’t test positive until subsequent tests. This reinforces something which I have mentioned previously…you are not ‘out of the woods’ completely until you have received a negative result from your Day 14 post-travel test. Symptoms of COVID-19 can take 14 days to develop. This is why travellers are not really “free to roam” until they clear their day 14-test.
“Once travellers have TWO negative tests you can “roam with the utmost care” but you must physical distance, wear a mask, avoid large groups of people and the clinically vulnerable and wash your hands well and often. It is not ‘carte blanche’ to go partying with dozens of people! Anyone arriving into Bermuda remains under mandatory 14-day public health monitoring, which includes self-monitoring temperature and symptoms daily and reporting any symptoms to the Epidemiology and Surveillance team.
“In addition, it is very important for both visitors and residents to remember that you must remain in quarantine until you receive your individual results by email. There has been a small number of persons who broke quarantine because they heard on the news that there were no positive results the day prior. In fact, travellers must remain in quarantine until they receive their own personal emailed result of the negative test that releases them from quarantine.”
Highlights of the Minister’s Full Statement:
The Cabinet has reviewed the traveller requirements for returning arriving passengers in Bermuda who do not have a valid pre-departure test.
Effective Tuesday, August 25th any travellers arriving in Bermuda without a pre-departure test will be required to test on arrival and quarantine for at least eight days. They will require a negative test result after day 8 to be released from quarantine. This mean they will not have to do a day 4 test.
Importantly, the pre-departure test must be taken in the country you are departing – that is, a test taken in Bermuda will never count as a pre-departure test to return to Bermuda.
We have seen a couple of cases of residents travelling overseas, returning without a pre-test, and then breaking quarantine to fly out again. This is a dangerous practice that puts you and others at risk. We ask you to be a law-abiding, responsible citizen and adhere to the quarantine requirements.
We actively encourage residents to avoid non-essential travel at this time. During a pandemic, a holiday will never be entirely safe. But if you must travel, it is best to get a pre-departure test before you come back. This will keep you safe and prevent the mandatory 8-day quarantine on your return.
To support the enforcement of quarantine, all passengers who arrive without a pre-test and are subject to the mandatory 8 day quarantine will be fitted with a quarantine monitoring bracelet that will be connected to their smartphone.
This week we activated the mandatory uploading of a pre-departure test for visitors during the Travel Authorization process. This should provide an added layer of safety for travellers, and will further ensure compliance regarding the requirement for all visitors to Bermuda to have a pre-departure test before travelling to Bermuda. The exception to this requirement are those aged nine or younger, who must upload a government photo ID with proof of their age in place of the pre-departure test.
Finally, in light of this week’s imported cases, I would like to encourage all businesses and public-facing establishments to reacquaint themselves with the guidance for each of their sectors, which can be found at coronavirus.gov.bm
Likewise, the general public is advised to ramp up preventive measures: wash hands frequently, wear masks diligently when mixing with other households, avoid large groups and keep six feet away from others if unmasked.
Remember a simple rule: Avoid the 3 C’s: Closed spaces, Crowded Places and Close-contact settings.
Stay safe, Bermuda, and thank You.