Covid-19: 108 new cases, helplines 'overwhelmed'
Bermuda has recorded a further 108 cases of Covid-19, bringing the number of active cases to 396.
The positive results came from a batch of 3,038 tests, and is the highest single daily total since records began a year ago.
Just one of the new cases was imported – by a passenger on a Jet Blue flight from New York last Friday.
A further 35 cases are classified as local transmission, while 72 are under investigation.
One of the current active cases is in hospital, while six carriers have recovered from the condition since the last update on Saturday.
Active cases have snowballed in the last ten days, with the island recording more than 200 new cases last week alone.
In a statement announcing the latest figures tonight, Kim Wilson, the health minister, said that testing centres were now “overwhelmed” by demand.
She said the fact that many of the current crop of cases were under investigation was a concern.
She said: “Sporadic cases means having a few cases, which may be imported or locally acquired.
“However, ‘community transmission’ signifies outbreaks where it is difficult to relate confirmed cases through chains of transmission for large number of cases or there are widely dispersed cases detected in the past 14 days.
“Bermuda exhibits signs of both these situations.
“The recent increase in numbers means that the Covid-19 helpline and the vaccination helpline are overwhelmed, receiving three times the number of calls that we normally would in a day.
“The helpline usually receives up to 600 calls a day. Today, by 4pm, they had received almost 1,800 calls.”
Ms Wilson said that the department of health’s contact tracing team was also struggling to track down and alert anyone who had had a potential exposure to the virus.
She said: “The number of positive cases over the past few days indicates the volume of calls that need to be made. If each positive case was in contact with only four or five people that means, each of those people must be contacted and asked to get tested.
“We know many people who have tested positive have been in contact with tens of people. We are asking for patience.
David Burt, the Premier, has consistently said that the island could be forced into a second lockdown if healthcare services become overstretched. Tonight Ms Wilson said Government was working to increase resources.
She added that it was essential that residents changed their behaviour and limited contact with others in order to stem the spread.
“Everyone who lives in Bermuda must recognise that we each have to change our behaviour immediately and reduce the number of people we come in contact with.
“This includes avoiding indoor meetings, restricting social activities and you must keep your social bubbles small. Do not mix with anyone who is not a member of your household.
“If you can work from home, you are required by law to do so.
“We all have a responsibility to stop the spread of the virus. Whenever you are outside your home, you should continue to wear a mask, physically distance and practice good hand hygiene.“
Yesterday Mr Burt warned that there could be a “staggering” increase in infections after the breakout of a UK variant of the disease earlier this month.
He said: “It is likely on Monday we will be reporting triple digit cases for the first time.
“They will look very staggering, but that’s because we’re casting a very wide net.
“This is very transmissible, so one person, if they are positive, is spreading it to a number of people far more than what we were seeing in our previous outbreaks.“