Premier's statement March 25
Covid-19 cases rise to seven
Bermuda has recorded its seventh confirmed case of Covid-19 infection, the Premier revealed last night.
David Burt said that the new case had arrived on the March 11 British Airways flight.
He added that the victim, like the six earlier cases, had not needed hospital treatment.
Mr Burt said the self-monitoring period for people on the same flight ended yesterday and that anyone with symptoms should contact their doctor for advice.
He added that it was important that testing for the virus was “timely, accurate and prioritised”.
He said: “The decision to test is based on both the clinical assessment by a physician and an assessment of the likelihood of infection with Covid-19.”
Mr Burt added that virus detection was most accurate when people had started to show symptoms.
He said: “As such, the immediate priority is for persons with symptoms and a relevant travel history, or persons with symptoms who are close contacts of a confirmed case.”
Mr Burt added that hospital patients and healthcare staff who developed respiratory problems were also prioritised for tests.
Cheryl Peek-Ball, the Chief Medical Officer, said that no tests had been performed yesterday for “logistical reasons”.
She added: “Testing is now scheduled for Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays.”
Dr Peek-Ball explained: “There are processing and operational issues around the testing. It’s really a practical consideration.”
She expected that 30 to 40 tests would be done today.
Dr Peek-Ball said that Bermuda’s stock of test kits was “less than 100” at present. But she added: “We’re expecting a shipment of quite a few more.”
Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, said that more test kits were expected, “hopefully, by next week”.
Dr Peek-Ball promised that the Government would provide more information on people who had tested positive for the virus, such as age and gender.
She said: “To the extent that we can maintain people’s privacy in this very intimate community, we will start to give some demographic breakdown in the future, certainly as the numbers get larger.”
She added that all positive test results to date were adults.
Dr Peek-Ball said that protective facemasks were being used “with great wisdom” by hospital staff.
She explained: “There is a global shortage.”
Dr Peek-Ball added that non-urgent surgery was “being deferred just for that reason to maintain our supply”.
She said: “We don’t know what the future weeks are going to lead to, so it is best to be cautious.”
Mr Burt said that legal changes he had asked Kathy Lynn Simmons, the Attorney-General, to look at to compel businesses to allow employees to work from home had still to be drawn up and he expected to be able to give an update today.
He added: “It is absolutely unconscionable to think that large, local companies who have the capacity and capability for their workers to work from home would require them to come into the office.
“That just doesn’t make sense. If your staff can work from home, let them.”
Mr Burt said that international businesses had “taken the lead” on remote working and that he expected island companies “to follow”.
He added that an anonymous method so employees could report work problems would be unveiled today.
Mr Burt said that airline Delta had announced that a flight to return people to Bermuda which was cancelled would not be replaced.
However, he added that talks were still under way with Delta and that more information might be provided today.
Mr Burt said that “about 30” island residents were still on cruise ships around the world.
He added: “A lot of these cruise ships have been denied disembarking.”
Mr Burt said that Bermudians still at sea had been included in talks with other airlines.
The Premier said that dock workers were working split shifts to make sure that essential imports continued to arrive.
He added: “The Government of Bermuda is comfortable that, with the plans which have been laid out, we do not foresee any possible disruption to our food supplies and essential supplies at this point in time.”
Mr Burt highlighted that the Covid-19 pandemic was “like nothing any of us has seen in our lifetime”.
He added: “I don’t know when this will end.
“What I can say is that this will go on longer if we do not, all of us, act responsibly.”
• To read David Burt’s statement in full, click on the PDF under “Related Media”
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