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22 now in hospital with Covid - five in ICU

Bermuda recorded 69 new cases of Covid-19 on April 6, 2021, bringing the number of active cases to a record 656.

Twenty-two people were in hospital with Covid last night - with five in intensive care, Government said.

In total Bermuda logged 69 more positive cases of coronavirus after 3,234 tests over the weekend bringing the total number of active cases to 656.

The latest figures came after Bermuda was rated “very high” on the travel health notices kept by the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

In a blow for the island’s record of low Covid-19 numbers, the CDC adjusted Bermuda’s status from Level 2, moderate, to Level 4, its highest designation.

At Level 4, the CDC site advises avoiding “all travel”.

A spokeswoman for the US Consulate General said the move reflected “Bermuda’s recent increase in active cases”.

She said the US Consulate would continue to update the CDC and US Department of State on the island’s pandemic status, including safety protocols and testing for residents and visitors.

She added: “As the Covid-19 situation around the world changes, the CDC is monitoring Covid-19 risk in destinations around the world and making travel recommendations.”

The numbers in hospital have increased since Saturday when 18 were in KEMH and last night Health Minister Kim Wilson acknowledged the number of people testing positive remained high.

“The public is reminded they should limit their social bubbles to their household and interact with others as little as possible,” said the Minister.

She added: “It is important to remember to wear a mask whenever you are out in public, maintain physical distancing and wash and sanitizer your hands regularly.

“Anyone who is in quarantine must not physically go to work, must not go to grocery stores and where possible work from home.

“Employers are reminded the law dictates that employees should continue to work from home, where possible. Employers cannot mandate that employees get tested for the coronavirus.

“My ministry is hearing stories of employers who are demanding that their employees who are in quarantine get tested before 14 days, presumably in an effort to get them released from quarantine.

“As a reminder, if someone has been told to get tested on Day 14, then that is when they will be tested. Not before. There is a reason for this: the incubation period for Covid-19 is up to 14 days.”

Pop-up testing resumed on Monday at Horseshoe Bay Beach and the service is to continue tomorrow from 4.30pm to 7:30pm.

Test results are available within 48 hours, but Ms Wilson said the call centre and Molecular Diagnostic Lab were taking calls asking for results within a few hours.

She asked for patience and said those needing to call for their results should contact their doctor in the first instance, to avoid causing delays.

Last night Michael Dunkley, the Shadow Minister of Health, said the Government needed to move faster to inform public during the “depressing and grim” rise in cases over the Easter weekend.

Mr Dunkley added: “Sadly, many in our community feel the Government recently has fallen short in releasing the latest updates in a timely fashion.”

The OBA MP said the three-digit positive cases announced on Saturday night had fuelled “rampant” rumours of rising hospital cases.

Mr Dunkley said it was “imperative that Government provide clarity on the current situation and an assurance that we are on the right track with the current approach”.

He said such assurance “did not happen” over the holiday weekend.

He added: “In short, all the progress we have made has simply vanished and we are being tested severely.”

The Ministry of Health said last night that local transmission with known contact has accounted for 33 of the island’s new cases.

A further 36 cases, in residents with no recent travel history or links to other known cases, are under investigation.

There were 41 recoveries and two deaths since the Saturday update on the virus, which has surged since last month.

It brings the island’s total cases to 1,469 since the start of the pandemic last year.

The latest figures for active cases of infection gave the age range as being below 10 to between 80 and 100.

The mean age of all active cases stands at 40.

Those now in hospital range from age 20 to 29, to age 80 to 100.

Out of the island’s present cases, 245 come from overseas and 956 are classed as local transmission.

Of those, 864 have known contacts, and 92 have unknown contacts.

Bermuda now has 268 cases under investigation. In the latest update, 22 cases went from being investigated to local transmission with known sources.

The seven-day average of the island’s real time reproduction number is now 1.38 - down from more than two - and the country status according to the World Health Organisation is “community transmission”.

Walk-in vaccinations will continue at the Bermuda College between 8am and 9am for people over 65 only. Others should register at coronavirus.gov.bm.

Ms Wilson also advised the oral health clinic at the Hamilton Health Centre was shut – but the St George’s Clinic was open for oral health emergencies.

Cole Simons, the Opposition leader, offered condolences on behalf of the One Bermuda Alliance for the families of the two whose deaths over the weekend brought the island’s toll from the virus to 14.