Photo Courtesy of TNN

“Disheartening news” led off the most recent government update with confirmation of an “outbreak” at the Matilda Smith Williams Seniors Residence in Devonshire, where there were 23 positive test results.

Health Minister Kim Wilson declined to give details on just how many of the cases were residents and how many were staff on the grounds of privacy.

“I can confirm that of the 24 new positives, 23 were associated with the outbreak at Matilda Smith,” she said.

Out of 80 test results – 56 were negative, she added.

The Minister described the situation as “disheartening news”.

“On one hand, there is a good thing about this finding which is that it represents a cluster of transmissions, as opposed to untraceable transmission in the community,” said Ms Wilson.

“Nevertheless, it is disheartening news for all concerned and out of respect for patient confidentiality, we will not share information on the number that were residents or staff.

“The public can be assured that the public health team is actively working with the rest home to contain the situation for all concerned.

“I would remind the public that we must not put an emphasis on any setting or facility that is found to have an outbreak.

“This is a virulent disease and its transmission is not the fault of a facility.

“We must be sympathetic to those affected and desist from putting additional strain on the persons having to manage the situation.”

The total number of cases now stands at 81 – 33 people who contracted the virus have fully recovered.

Nine people aged between 67 and 82 were in hospital.

Five people who tested positive for the disease have died.

The status of the new cases is as follows:

  • 33 have now recovered
  • 34 persons are under active public health monitoring, but who do not require hospitalization, and
  • 9 persons are hospitalized
  • The total deceased stands at 5

“The average age of all of our confirmed positive cases is 56,” Ms Wilson added.

“The median age is 57, and the age range of all of our positive cases is from 18 to 91 years. The age of persons hospitalized ranges between 67 and 82 years, and the average age is 74.

“Out of the 81 positive cases confirmed to date, 36 are males, and 45 are females.”

The Minister noted that one question which keeps coming up seems to be:Why can’t we test the entire population?

“The reason we are not doing this is because if we test people too early, the virus may not show up in the test and they could get a false negative,” she said.

“So, for example, if someone were tested within a few hours of exposure when they had no symptoms, the test would not pick up the disease and they would get a negative result that is wrong.

“Consequently, that individual – thinking they did not have COVID-19 – may go out into the community and spread the virus to others unknowingly.

“As previously stated, the Government will be implementing more extensive testing once all the necessary supplies are fully available on island.

“Until then, we will continue to test as aggressively as possible all symptomatic persons and necessary close contacts.”

Meanwhile, Premier David Burt said the decision to cancel Bermuda Day Celebrations was made out of “an abundance of caution to ensure the continued health and wellbeing of everyone on the island”.

And Finance Minister Curtis Dickinson said roughly 15 percent of Bermuda’s workforce, or 5,000 people will have been paid up to $8 million in unemployment benefits as of this week.

Mr Dickinson also said that $12 million was allocated to the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation to expand its support of small and medium-sized businesses.

More in subsequent reports.