No one has said it officially yet, but the threat of community spread of the deadly coronavirus in Bermuda is the new reality, now that are five new cases of COVID-19 – two resulted from person-to-person contact on island.

The total number of cases to date is now 22.

National Security Minister Wayne Caines confirmed that out of the five new cases, two passengers arrived on a British Airways flight.

The other passenger who tested positive arrived on board a Delta flight.

But the remaining two new cases was the end result of person-to-person contact here in Bermuda.

That’s the seriousness of this deadly virus considering the fact it is now moving from person-to-person now.

And while community spread was not considered to be a significant factor two days ago, chances are that it is going to get worse before it gets better.

Generally, we don’t know whose got it or where they have been.

Based on the latest figures, it’s not just passengers arriving from overseas we have to worry about.

In the latest official update on Saturday, Minister Caines reiterated the statement made arlier this week by Premier David Burt, who said: “We must do everything in our power to stop the spread of Covid-19 in our community.”

As of March 28, 36 test results were received, which turned up “five more confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 31 negative results.

“Three of the confirmed cases were imported and two had close contact with a confirmed case and are limited local transmission.

“One of the confirmed cases arrived in Bermuda on the British Airways flight BA2233 on 15 March 2020. Another arrived on flight BA2233 on 18 March, 2020 and the third arrived on BA2233 on 20 March 2020.”

If you were on one of those British Airways flights, here’s what you need to know:

  • If you arrived on 15 March your monitoring period ends tomorrow – March 29, 2020.
  • If you arrived on 18 March your monitoring period ends on April 1, 2020.
  • If you arrived on 20 March your monitoring period ends on April 3, 2020

“If you are feeling fine and have no symptoms, there is nothing for you to do except to remain in your house and continue to observe the self-quarantine guidelines.” said Mr Caines.

“If you have any respiratory symptoms, such as a cough or even a mild fever, please contact your doctor. Explain that you were on one of the mentioned British Airways flights and that you would like medical guidance. Do not go to your doctor’s office or the hospital. Please call ahead.

“There are currently two confirmed Covid-19 patients in hospital in stable condition.”

Premier Burt, is scheduled to give another update later today.

In the interim, he said: “The steps we are taking as a Government is to ensure the health of each person who lives here.

“You have the ability to prevent the spread of  Covid-19 by washing your hands, staying six feet away from other people and encouraging others to follow all the guidelines that have been put in place. You are the person who will make the difference.”

Highlights of the Full Statement on Saturday, March 28

Bermuda Police Service and RBR’s Community Advisory Points and the Community Advisory Home Visits
Photo Courtesy of TNN

The legislation that supports both of these actions can be found within the Public Health Act 1949 in addition to the Public Health (COVID19) Regulations 2020.

The Public Health Act 1949 section 10 provides the police The ability to aid and assist generally in carrying out the provisions and objects of this Act; and if any contravention of this Act or of any regulations, orders or direction made in pursuance thereof becomes known to any police officer, he shall forthwith report the contravention or failure to a Public Health Officer.
A notice/direction was issued by the Chief Medical Officer pursuant to section 69 of the Public Health Act and the Public Health (COVID-19) Regulations 2020.
It was made clear that each person arriving in Bermuda on any flights listed in that notice shall be subject to public health supervision for 14 days from the date of arrival in Bermuda as directed by a Public Health Officer.
Furthermore, each person to whom this Order applies shall conduct public health supervision by:
  • separating himself from others at his home or accommodation in such manner as shall be required under Ministry of Health (COVID-19) Guidelines; and
  • remaining at his home or accommodation at all times (except to seek urgent medical care)
  • complying with self-monitoring and reporting requirements of a Public Health Officer; and
  • immediately returning to his home or accommodation when so ordered by a Health Officer or police officer
Additionally, section 18 of the Public Health (COVID 19) Regulations 2020, allows for a Health Officer or Police Officer to advise those persons who are not in compliance with the regulations to return to the place of public health supervision.
As a result, Community Advisory Points were put in place throughout the island, commencing on Monday, March 23rd.
The numbers of Community Advisory points are as follows:
  • On Monday there were 90
  • Tuesday there were 1106
  • Wednesday there were 925
  • Thursday there were 291
  • Friday there were 376
  • Saturday, March 28th as of this press conference there were 138
Total number of Community Advisory Points was 2,926.
None of the Community Check Points identified any persons who were under quarantine.
The BPS commenced Community Advisory Home Visits on Thursday 26th 2020.
The numbers are as follows:
  • On Thursday 16 visits were completed. Two persons were not at home
  • On Friday 70 visits were completed. Three persons were not at home
  • Today at the time of this press briefing there were 54 home visits and 4 persons were not at home
Total persons identified as non-compliant to self-quarantine is 9 persons.
Additionally there are 25 persons who could not self-quarantine that are presently being housed in a facility provided by the government.
All of the above information has been communicated to the Ministry of Health.
Lastly, I’d like to provide an update on a few other important developments that we wanted to share with the community.
Vulnerable Persons
Photo Courtesy of TNN

We have received considerable feedback regarding the safeguarding our vulnerable persons.

What I can advise is that the health and wellbeing of all of our residents is of paramount importance to us.
We are working with our helping agency partners to provide as much support as we can.
I can advise that the Salvation Army, Focus and Christ Church, Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity Anglican Church, First Baptist Church, The Eliza Doolittle Society, Meals on Wheels have offered to provide critical services of food distribution and feeding and in some instances, shelter, shower facilities and housing services.
We will share specific times and locations, following this press briefing as we continue to receive updates of support and help from a variety of community agencies.
Specifically as it relates to the Salvation Army, they are providing services for our homeless population, at Harbour Light and the Berkeley Gymnasium.
Additionally Focus Counseling has four beds for those who need assistance.
These organisations will begin accepting individuals as of 7pm Sunday evening.
Also as a special request, the Salvation Army are looking for trained food servers for their evening feeding program at their Citadel located at 10 North Street.
Any trained food server who is interested in volunteering their time, please call 296-6740 or 704-7673.
BHB Temporary Transportation
Sunday, March 29, the DPT will commence its daily bus service for Bermuda Hospital Board (BHB) employees commuting to and from the King Edward Memorial Hospital.
As a reminder, this temporary schedule, created to support our BHB healthcare workers, will service routes 1, 3, 6, 7, 8 & 11, and operate until the Public Bus Service resumes normal operations.
The KEMH Bus Service will be limited to employees displaying BHB ID only.
Bermuda, as you have heard your Government say repeatedly in the last few weeks, this is no time to take these matters lightly. We are singularly focused on preserving the health and safety of all residents.
We will continue to take the necessary steps to protect the people of this Country.
And we are urging everyone to cooperate and do their part to ensure that we limit the spread of this deadly COVID-19 Virus.

The Premier said that will give another update on Sunday March, 29th at 5:30pm.