Health Minister Kim Wilson confirmed that COVID-19 claimed another life, taking the number of deaths recorded in Bermuda to 36, as the Ministry announced a record new number of active cases that jumped to 948.

The Minister reported 412 new cases in the latest figures released last night, with 43 patients in hospital battling the highly contagious Delta variant and 10 patients in ICU.

She also appealed appealed to residents to take their family members out of the medical facility, which is now on high alert, to free up bedspace.

Ms Wilson also noted that the inpatient numbers at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital were “especially” concerning”.

“I am especially concerned about our hospital as the number of COVID-19 inpatients and ICU patients continues to rise,” she said.

“I want to encourage persons to take their medically fit for discharge family members home.

“The hospital is under tremendous pressure, and they need the space for additional admissions, not all of which are COVID related.

“An overwhelmed hospital with no available beds puts critically ill patients at risk. Anyone who can be discharged must leave the hospital to free up much-needed bed space.

Extending sincere condolences to the family and friends of the deceased, the Minister said “948 active cases is far too many for an island our size”.

“The Delta variant is spreading quickly throughout our community, and this surge is overwhelming every segment of our healthcare system.

To date, the Ministry has received 13,125 test results, 28 of the new cases were classified as imported with a history of travel in the previous 14 days.

The additional 384 new cases were classified as either local transmission or remain under investigation.

Additionally, since the last update, there have been 76 recoveries and one death.

There are 948 active cases, of which:

●        905 are under public health monitoring and

●        43 are in hospital, with 10 in intensive care

Since March 2020, Bermuda has recorded 3,877 confirmed coronavirus cases, out of which 2,893 have recovered, and sadly 36 COVID related deaths.

The source of all active cases is as follows:

●        83 are Imported

●        202 are classified as local transmission of which:

o   202 are Local transmission with known contact/source and

o   0 are Local transmission with an unknown contact/source

●        663 are Under Investigation

Active cases by vaccination status, transmission, and type:

•        Imported cases: 85% are fully vaccinated and 15% are not vaccinated

•        Local/Under Investigation cases: 28% are fully vaccinated, and 72% are not vaccinated

•        Variant typing is not available at this time due to the prioritisation of test results.

The source of all confirmed cases is as follows:

•        539 are Imported

•        2,608 are classified as local transmission of which:

o   2,087 are Local transmission with known contact/source and

o   521 are Local transmission with an unknown contact/source

•        730 are Under Investigation

Minister Wilson reiterated the fact that “the Delta variant is spreading quickly throughout our community.

“This surge is overwhelming every segment of our healthcare system,” she said.

“Consequently, we must double our efforts in preventive measures like masking, physical distancing and hand-washing, and we must minimise our movements and keep in our family bubbles. We must work together to keep people who’ve been exposed to the virus away from people who haven’t so that fewer people become infected.

“Additionally, our COVID testing volume remains extremely high, and we are not accepting walk-ins at any of our testing locations.

“People who require time-sensitive outbound travel tests should use the services of one of the private labs,” she added.

“Helix Genetic and Scientific Solutions,, or C & S West Limited, Both of these labs are certified to carry out COVID-19 testing and diagnostics. The MDL is processing thousands of tests each day, and for those who must travel, a private lab may be a quicker option at this time.

“We have completed week 35 of vaccinations. Since January 11th, Bermuda has administered a total of 86,194 vaccinations,” she added.

Of the 86,194 vaccinations given as of September 11:

●        52% are women and,

●        48% are men

83.6% of all residents over the age of 65 years have had at least one vaccination  and

82.5% are fully immunised.

To date, 67.4 percent of the population has been vaccinated (1 dose), and  66.0 percent of the population has been immunised (2 doses).

“Undoubtedly, the COVID-19 vaccine remains the best protection against the coronavirus as they protect against severe disease and death. Despite this surge, the number of coronavirus infections among vaccinated residents remains relatively low,” said the Minister.

“I encourage anyone who wants to get vaccinated to do so quickly. There are 264 first doses left on the island until our next shipment,” she added.

“We will be extending the gap between 1st and 2nd doses of Pfizer Covid vaccine from 3 weeks to 6 weeks. This will help us deliver more first vaccine doses to Bermudians whilst we await our next batch of vaccines. There is no reduction in immunity to COVID-19 as a result of this longer gap.”

She also noted that “anyone getting their first dose next week will have their second dose scheduled for when the next batch of vaccines arrives”.

“Anyone who has already had their first dose must keep your appointment for your second dose.”

The vaccine clinic at the King Edward Memorial Hospital is open for appointments and walk-ins, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4pm – 7pm, and Saturdays from 8am – 4pm.

Minister Wilson is scheduled to host another COVID technical briefing with Ministry of Health and hospital officials later today at 4pm, to provide further information on the current outbreak.

And as of today (Sept 15), the Ministry of Health will increase the frequency of coronavirus statistical updates to Monday, Wednesday and Friday.