The total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 climbed to 118 on Wednesday, when three out of 195 test results came back positive.
According to Health Minister Kim Wilson, there are currently 52 active cases of which 37 are under active public health monitoring, with 15 hospitalised as a result of the coronavirus.
To date, 59 people who contracted COVID-19 have now recovered.
The total number of deceased remains at seven.
The Minister also noted that the average age of all confirmed cases is 60 and the age range runs from 18 to 101 years.
The age range of persons hospitalised ranges between 64 and 91 years, and the average age is 77.
As of Wednesday, Ms Wilson said: “We have tested 247 care home residents and 302 staff members from twelve different care homes.
“Of all those tested, 505 results have come back negative with 44 positive. We plan to finish the testing of all care homes by Sunday.”
The Minister also issued a public reminder that “because there is currently a global shortage of surgical masks, Bermuda needs to conserve these masks for those who need them most, such as our healthcare workers and those who are sick”.
“Reusable [cloth] masks complement safe physical distancing measures and provide some basic protection. Masks help protect others from you, in case you are infected but unaware,” she said.
“And, remember, I wear a mask to protect you; you wear a mask to protect me.
“Now that the shelter in place restrictions have ended and we are in phase one of reopening, business leaders must do their due diligence to ensure that employees are adequately protected when returning to work,” she added.
“In light of this, ‘Return to Work’ Guidance for Businesses has been created with recommendations to assist employers in establishing workplace protocols to protect employee health and safety when returning to work after COVID-19.
“It includes sections on infection prevention & control measures, return to work considerations, occupational risk assessments, site cleaning & disinfection protocols, site operations and risk management, as well as general information on COVID-19. It also provides a sample screening questionnaire for employees returning to work after the shelter in place and an occupational safety & health risk assessment template.
“Additionally, it contains information for specific populations and work groups. For example, there is industry-specific guidance for Healthcare Professionals, Care Homes, Offices and Banking Services, Construction, Mechanical & Landscaping, Warehouses, Auto Dealers and Retail Operations.
“We recommend that screening protocols be in place before employees return to work. Employee screening will help ensure that any symptomatic individuals are identified before coming to the facility and to prevent the potential spread of infection.
“In addition to employee screening, once employees arrive to work it is advisable that clear reporting procedures be developed and communicated to all staff. These procedures must inform staff of what to do if they were to develop respiratory symptoms.
“Conducting an assessment of employee occupational risk of exposure to COVID-19 will be crucial in determining what steps are needed upon re-opening your business.”
Occupational risk will vary from very high, high, medium or lower risk. The level of risk will depend on several factors, including:
- industry type and job responsibilities;
- the need for close contact with persons who are known or suspected to be infected with COVID-19;
- the need for close contact with the general public;
- the need for repeated or extended contact with the general public; and
- employee susceptibility to infectious diseases.
“It is essential to determine which occupational risk category your employees fall into. In doing so you must consider that different groups of employees may be exposed to different risk levels,” said Ms Wilson.
“You must also take into consideration whether or not you have any medically vulnerable employees in your workplace. This information will determine the types of controls that may be needed in your workplace.
“Once your business re-opens, it is essential that protocols are in place to outline what employees must do if they develop respiratory or flu-like symptoms when at work.
“These protocols must outline, as a minimum, who employees must report to, what information is reported and who maintains this information. We recommend that the person[s] in charge of maintaining accident/dangerous occurrence reports and other occupational safety and health issues at your business should be responsible for this.
“We also recommend that a specific location be designated for employees who develop respiratory or flu-like symptoms at work, to ensure that they are adequately isolated from the rest of the workforce. This location must be communicated to all employees so that they can report to this area, as needed. All areas where these employees have been must be cordoned off and appropriately cleaned and disinfected.
“Before employees return to work we recommend that thorough cleaning and disinfection of the work facility be conducted. Disinfection should focus on frequently touched and flat surfaces throughout the facility and must be done multiple times daily with EPA-approved disinfectants or a bleach solution only.
“Again, that guidance can be found at coronavirus.gov.bm.
“In closing, I just want to highlight the availability of the Emotional Wellbeing Hotline at 543-1111 as a resource to our community while we weather this storm. That number again is 543-1111.
“We realise that these are times of extreme heightened stress and anxiety – particularly for those who are quarantined and those being tested for COVID-19 – and therefore I want to remind people that this resource exists for you. Thank you to those individuals who man the phone lines at the Wellbeing Hotline, providing this vital service for our community.
“Finally, I want to thank another group of people trying to help out those who may also be struggling…Thank you to the Market Place who announced today that they will be offering a 5 percent discount to all Financial Assistance clients from now until October 31st. This applies to all of their Market Place and Price Rite stores on any day of the week.”