News Release HAMILTON, Bermuda The Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit (ESU) at the Ministry of Health is informing the public of an increase in reports of fever and respiratory symptoms, including COVID-19, common cold, strep throat, RSV and influenza in the community. Of particular concern is the elevated level of influenza cases, which is significantly above normal for this time of the year. The ESU is actively monitoring these developments and will provide further updates to the public as necessary.

To help curb the spread of influenza and other respiratory infections, we strongly urge everyone to adhere to the following recommendations:

·         Get vaccinated: All individuals, 6 months of age and older, are encouraged to be vaccinated against influenza each season. Members of the public who wish to receive influenza vaccinations should contact their physician’s office or call the Hamilton Health Centre Clinic, 67 Victoria Street, at 441-278-6460.

·         Avoid close contact: Avoid close contact with individuals who are sick to reduce the risk of transmission.

·         Stay home if sick: If you exhibit influenza-like symptoms, including fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, and tiredness, stay home from work, school, or public places.

·         Practice good hand hygiene: Wash hands frequently with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

·         Avoid touching your face: Refrain from touching your eyes, nose, or mouth, especially with unwashed hands.

·         Cover coughs and sneezes:  Use a tissue or your upper sleeve or elbow to cover coughs and sneezes and dispose of tissues properly.

·         Consider wearing a mask: Wearing a mask can help reduce the transmission of respiratory illnesses.

·         Clean and disinfect: Regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as doorknobs, telephones, and bathroom fixtures, especially if someone in your household is ill.

·         Maintain overall health: Prioritize good health habits, including getting enough sleep, staying physically active, managing stress, staying hydrated, and consuming nutritious food.

Minister of Health Kim Wilson emphasizes that: “It’s crucial to seek medical advice if you develop symptoms of an influenza-like illness, especially if you are in a high-risk category, such as persons aged 65 and older, individuals with certain chronic medical conditions (e.g., asthma, diabetes, heart disease), pregnant women, and young children. Early medical consultation is particularly important if symptoms are severe.”

The Ministry of Health and the ESU are committed to safeguarding the health and well-being of our community. We appreciate your cooperation and vigilance in helping prevent the spread of influenza and other respiratory infections.

For routine updates on the conditions reported to the ESU, visit the Bermuda Government portal at Health Information | Government of Bermuda (www.gov.bm)