With the island now “in the midst of a growing outbreak and the number of positive cases is alarming”, Health Minister Kim Wilson said: “We have had outbreaks that occurred in crowded outdoor settings where people were not wearing masks.

“I will also remind businesses and their patrons that while a Safekey is not required to be in outdoor settings, unless under a large group exception, masks should be worn outdoors if physical distancing is not possible,” she added.

“This variant is extremely contagious, and residents should adjust their behaviour to minimise the risk of contracting the coronavirus.”

The Minister also stated that “a large volume of COVID-19 testing for Safekeys has led to the identification of numerous positive cases”.

“Because of the current volume of coronavirus testing on the island, the public is advised to please be patient while waiting to receive your test result,” said Ms Wilson.

“The PCR COVID-19 test result turnaround time is expected to be a minimum of 24 hours, though results may take longer.

“If you have not received a negative test result by email in 36 hours, please contact your doctor as they may have been sent your positive test result. As a reminder, if you are feeling unwell, please do not leave home until you receive a negative test result.”

Free testing is available at Penno’s Wharf, Bulls Head parking lot, and the old AS Cooper shop in the Clocktower Mall in Dockyard to know their coronavirus status.

“Due to the large volume of testing of close contacts, the Bull’s Head testing site is not currently accepting walk-ins; however, there are appointments available for testing every day this week at the other testing locations, and residents should book appointments,” said the Minister.

“If you cannot get an appointment on the day you wish, there are private testing options that are available locally.”

The latest update on COVID-19 pointed up 225 new cases in the latest round of 10,984 test results received by the Ministry of Health, taking the total number of active cases up to 472.

Sadly, another death due to COVID was also recorded, taking the island’s death toll up to 35 – 25 of the new cases came in from overseas and 68 were the result of on-island transmissions from known sources.

The origin of the other 132 cases is now under investigation.

The increase in on-island transmissions from known sources, prompted the Minister to remind members of the Bermuda public to “remember the basics”.

“Many cases have come from persons who were not feeling well and went to work or a social function – if you feel unwell, please stay at home,” said the Minister, who also warned that people had started to skip basic precautions.

“In Bermuda, complacency is our enemy when it comes to the Delta variant, so I must urge all residents to remember the basics that we have been doing for the last 18 months and do what is necessary to keep them and their family safe.

“Residents are attending gatherings where simple things like sanitising hands before touching common serving utensils are not being done, which can lead to entire families being infected,”
 
Moving forward, she said: “Over the next few days, the Ministry of Health will be prioritising our testing resources to support the Ministry of Education’s desire to resume in-person learning where possible.
 
“Testing is essential to support the safe return to school, and I join the Minister of Education in urging all parents to ensure their students are tested.”