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Delta strain makes up 89% of Covid-19 cases

Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health (File photograph)

Almost all of Bermuda’s active Covid-19 cases are the Delta variant, the Minister of Health has confirmed.

Figures released to The Royal Gazette yesterday morning show that of the 36 active cases reported through to July 31, 32 are the more virulent Delta strain. Of the 36 cases, 24 involve vaccinated people.

However, only one case was of someone aged over 70 and no one has been admitted to hospital. Government released new Covid-19 figures last night but these did not identify which of the new cases were of the Delta variant.

The number of active Covid-19 cases more than doubled in ten days, from 15 on July 19 to 36. Six of the 36 cases are under investigation as the individuals had no contact with anyone with a known infection.

Nine of the most recent 15 cases were local transmissions. Of the 36 active cases, 24 of the individuals were immunised and 12 were not.

However. the Government said vaccination remains the one of the most effective weapons against the coronavirus.

In response to questions from The Royal Gazette, Kim Wilson said: “We continue to advocate for residents to get vaccinated, and the Government continues to offer accessible avenues for members of the public to get immunised.

“Vaccination is recognised globally as one of the single most important measures that individuals can take to protect themselves, their loved ones and their community.

“Even though the vaccination rate of our seniors is very good, we continue to monitor the impact of these cases on all our age groups and to make recommendations to Cabinet accordingly.”

Ms Wilson added: “Any increase in Covid-19 numbers is concerning. The ministry also recognises that as investigations proceed, transmission categories may change.”

Vaccination centre opening hours

Residents can walk in to the King Edward Memorial Hospital vaccination centre. This week the vaccination centre will be open on:

•Tuesday, August 3, from 4pm to 7pm

•Thursday, August 5, from 4pm to 7pm

•Saturday, August 7, from 8am to 4pm.

Ms Wilson said that the ministry continued to monitor available evidence in relation to whether a booster jab will be needed in light of a report by Pfizer showing that the efficacy of the vaccine declines from 96 per cent to about 84 per cent after six months. The Pfizer report recommends a booster jab.

She said the ministry works closely with Public Health England when deciding on recommendations and said that a booster jab is not currently being recommended in Bermuda.

Asked what contingency plan was in place by the government in the case that there is a spike in Covid-19 cases following the Cup Match holiday where there was evidence of social distancing rules not being adhered to, Ms Wilson said: “We will continue to closely monitor any changes in the number of cases. The ministry along with relevant partner departments will review any steps that need to be taken to address any increases in transmission.”

She added: “We’re also reminding the public about the need to use SafeKey for both indoor as well as outdoor events and large group activities. The public is urged to remain vigilant when it comes to protecting themselves and others from the coronavirus.

“We continue to urge members of the community to make responsible decisions in terms of engaging in the proper health and safety guidelines such as wearing masks, proper hand hygiene etc.”