Nearly 200 new cases of COVID-19 in Bermuda were reported in the latest update, with dismal indications that the spread of the Delta variant on island will get worse before it gets better.

The Ministry reported another 192 new cases yesterday taking the total number of active cases up to 613, with 28 patients battling this virus in hospital and five patients in the Intensive Care Unit.

It was also noted that “because of this growing outbreak and the current volume of coronavirus testing on the island:, the latest results “are from testing done on Monday and Tuesday only”.

Health Minister Kim Wilson warned of “dire” consequences, including another lockdown, if this virus continues to spread at the current rate, particularly when it comes down to local transmissions.

“If this outbreak continues to spread at this rate, the consequences are dire,” said Ms Wilson.

“We know that the less mixing and movement there is in the community, the less the virus will spread.

“We would rather not increase restrictions as the reality is that Bermuda cannot afford to go back into lockdown.

“However, it depends on all of us taking responsibility for our own actions. I would encourage all persons for the next two (2) weeks to minimise their movements and keep to their family bubbles.

“At the risk of sounding like a broken record, everyone must follow all Public Health Regulations and guidance and take measures to ensure that they protect themselves and their family from exposure to the coronavirus,” she added.

A Ministry spokeswoman said 24 of the new cases were classified as on-island transmissions – 16 came in from overseas, the remaining 152 cases are under investigation.

The positive results were included in the latest round of 6,074 test results, with 51 recoveries recorded since the last update, with no deaths.

Since March 2020, Bermuda has recorded 3,465 confirmed coronavirus cases, out of which 2,817 have recovered, and sadly 35 COVID related deaths.

The source of all active cases is as follows:

·         63 are Imported

·         192 are classified as local transmission of which:

·         192 are Local transmission with known contact/source and 

·         0 are Local transmission with an unknown contact/source

·         358 are Under Investigation

Active cases by vaccination status, transmission, and type:

·         Imported cases: 50 (79%) are fully vaccinated and 13 (21%) are not vaccinated

·         Local/Under Investigation cases: 141 (26%) are fully vaccinated and 409 (74%) are not vaccinated

·         0 are Alpha, 0 are Beta, 49 (8%) are Delta, 0 are Gamma, 0 are wildtype, 10 (2%) are not able to be determined and 554 (90%) are not available

The source of all confirmed cases is as follows:

·         511 are Imported

·         2,553 are classified as local transmission of which:

o    2,040 are Local transmission with known contact/source and 

o    513 are Local transmission with an unknown contact/source

·         401 are Under Investigation

Social Distance Sign on the floor during COVID-19

The Minister also urged people to “stay at least six (6) feet away from people who don’t live with you”.

“Masks must be worn indoors, except when eating or drinking. Wear a mask outdoors if physical distancing is not possible or if it is a crowded place. Do not touch your face or cough or sneeze in your hands.  Sanitise your hands before touching shared utensils at family gatherings.  Wash hands or use hand sanitiser thoroughly and frequently.

She also noted that COVID symptoms “can seem like a mild cold or allergies”.

“If you or anyone in your household has any symptoms, stay home, isolate and contact your doctor,” she said.

“Potential COVID-19 symptoms include sore throat, headache, stuffy/runny nose, sneezing, cough, diarrhoea, vomiting, fever, muscle/body aches, shortness of breath, or the loss of taste and smell.

“If you test positive for COVID-19, you will need to isolate (separate from others) for 14 days. You must get tested on your Day 14 to ensure you are not still infected.

“Additionally, due to the sheer number of cases we are asking for assistance in contacting close contacts to reduce further spread. If you receive a positive result, please immediately contact anyone you had close contact with (closer than 6 feet) from 2 days before your test date or 2 days before your symptoms started.

“Tell your close contacts that they need to quarantine for 14 days and test on day 14 to exit quarantine. After creating a list of “close contacts,” send the list to the case management team at the Ministry of Health at ([email protected]),” she added.

“Please provide name, phone number and email address of close contacts. The case management team will then send letters with quarantine guidance to those identified close contacts. 

In closing, the Minister said: “I must also remind restaurants, bars and clubs that in addition to SafeKey there is still a requirement to collect contact tracing information. This information is an essential part of controlling outbreaks and is the main way to stop further spread.” 

“Patrons must provide accurate and legible contact tracing information including full name, phone number, home address, email address, date and time of arrival. This also ap plies to all large group gatherings; contact details of attendees must be recorded.

“Establishments that are required to use SafeKey, must verify the validity of the SafeKey by going to verify.gov.bm and must compare the details to the customer’s identification.

“Also, given the current outbreak, those people who require time-sensitive outbound travel tests should use the services of one of the private labs, Helix Genetic and Scientific Solutions, helixbermuda.bm, or C & S West Limited, cswest.bm. 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.”