Protest demonstrators who took to the streets of Hamilton by the thousands in the Black Lives Matter march last Sunday are being urged to get tested for COVID-19.
This from Health Minister Kim Wilson, who said the “further reminder” was aimed at any participant who came “in close contact with someone not wearing mask”.
If that applies to you, she said: “You are strongly encouraged to get tested.”
“Close contact means within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more. Remember, COVID-19 has an incubation period of several days and you may pass on the virus before you experience any symptoms.
“Also, many persons with the virus are asymptomatic throughout the entirety of the infection.
“You should get tested on Friday 12th June – day five after the march – or subsequently, as this will maximize the likelihood of the virus being detected if you are carrying it without symptoms,” she said.
“Likewise, all persons who, by the nature of their work, spend a lot of time in close contact with others should get tested.
“This includes workers such as hairdressers, barbers, retail workers and so on. For personal services workers, imagine the assurance you can give your clients if you can show them a certificate showing you were tested and are clear. And this works both ways… imagine the peace of mind you will get if you know your client can show you a negative test results.”
Speaking at the latest COVID-19 briefing on Thursday, the Minister also announced “a progressive, new initiative”.
“The Ministry of Health has teamed up with the MarketPlace to offer convenient pop-up testing right outside a MarketPlace store near you for the month of June,” she said.
“The test is safe, quick and convenient. We understand not everyone is able to drive to our SouthSide testing location and we want to ensure that anybody who wants to know their COVID status is able to do so. The grocery stores offer a convenient location for staff, shoppers and for the general public.
“It’s important for the public to know that they will not be impacted by the testing stations and are not at risk in any way. Testing will take place in secure areas of the parking lots, not inside the stores,” she added.
“You can book online via the government website coronavirus.gov.bm or call the COVID-19 hotline 444-2498 between 9am and 9pm and one of our helpful telephone operators will be happy to make a reservation for you… Or, just show up! Drop-ins are welcome! A full schedule of testing days and times has been posted to the Government website.
“I want to thank the MarketPlace for supporting the Government’s efforts in helping us reach our goal of increasing test frequency.”
She also noted that “pop-ups around the Island and around the city of Hamilton will make this very easy and convenient for people to get tested”.
“Other convenient pop-up locations around the island will be announced shortly.
“For more information about pop-up testing, you can call 444-2498.”
In the lead up to the holiday weekend, the Minister also issued another reminder “that COVID-19 doesn’t take a break on Saturday and Sunday”.
“We must practice mask wearing and physical distancing even during our weekends in order to stay safe,” she said.
“We have seen the trend for the last two weekends, in reports to Health IQ, of a reduction in safe physical distancing by our population.
“We all need to remember that the move towards fewer cases and re-opening Bermuda will only happen if we continue to do what we need to do – wear our masks properly, keep our distance and wash our hands.
“Also, no raft-ups this weekend, please. And just because your boats may be physical distancing… please make sure that swimmers maintain distance too.
“There have been too many cases of several boaters getting together, anchoring independently of one another but then swimming to a friend’s boat or to the shore to congregate.
“This defeats the purpose of the ‘no raft up’ rule. Please try and avoid co-mingling with other households as much as possible. You can enjoy the water and the company of friends six feet apart.”
She urged residents “to log onto HealthIQ.bm to tell us how you’re feeling and what you’re seeing in the community in terms of protective measures being taken”.
“Your information will be confidential and will help us greatly as we transition through the phases,” said Ms Wilson.
Meanwhile, all 71 test results received by the Ministry of Health on Thursday were negative, “making this the 11th day without any new cases”.
“Thank you to all who have contributed to this excellent position,” said the Minister.
“Bermuda continues to have 141 total confirmed positive cases,” she added.
There are currently five active cases with four people under active public health monitoring.
Only one patient is in hospital battling this virus and that patient is not in critical care.
A total of 127 have now fully recovered from the coronavirus. The total number of deaths remains at nine.
The average age of all of our confirmed positive cases is 61 and the age range of all of our positive cases is from 18 to 101 years.
The average age of all deceased cases is 74 and the age range is 57 to 91 years.
Overall, 57% of all cases are Black, 41 percent are white and 2 percent are other or unknown.
The source of all local cases – 41 are Imported, 84 are Local transmission, with known contact, 11 are Local transmission with an unknown contact, and five (5) are under investigation.