Covid cases surge, minister says ‘we are in the midst of a growing outbreak’
The island recorded 125 new positive coronavirus cases in the latest batch of test results, bringing active cases to 290 – a sharp climb from 205 from Tuesday’s figures.
Seven people are in hospital, the Ministry of Health revealed, with one in intensive care.
Bermuda’s status remains at “sporadic cases”.
But for the second time this week, the ministry said the local data indicated the island met criteria for community transmission.
Kim Wilson, the health minister, warned the island was “in the midst of a growing outbreak”.
The figures came from 8,358 tests this week: 35 were positive on Monday, 31 on Tuesday and 59 on Wednesday, with an overall test positivity rate of 1.5 per cent.
Twelve new cases are from overseas.
The figure of 290 active cases is the highest since May 7 while the 51 new cases recorded is the highest number of cases recorded in a single day since 91 were recorded on April 19 - when the last outbreak was at its peak.
Out of the 290 total cases, 108 are now classed as local transmission with known contacts. There are no local cases classed with contacts unknown.
Imported cases stand at 48, and officials are investigating 134 cases.
Forty people recovered since the previous update, while the death toll remained at 34.
The Delta variant of the virus accounted for 43 per cent of overall active cases, with none traced to the Alpha, Beta or Gamma strains.
Variant type was unavailable for half the cases, however, while it could not be determined for 7 per cent.
Fully vaccinated people accounted for 81 per cent of imported cases, with 19 per cent unvaccinated.
But the unvaccinated added up to 76 per cent of local cases and cases under investigation.
Overseas cases testing positive for coronavirus were as follows:
• One resident on British Airways from London on August 19 who tested positive on day 10;
• One visitor on Air Canada from Toronto on August 20 who tested positive on day 10;
• One resident on JetBlue from New York on August 21 who tested positive on day 10;
• One resident on Delta Air Lines from Atlanta on August 21 who tested positive on day 10;
• One resident on United Airlines from Newark on August 22 who tested positive on day 10;
• One visitor on JetBlue from Boston on August 28, positive on their outbound test;
• One resident on American Airlines from Philadelphia on August 28 who tested positive on day 4;
• Two residents on United Airlines from Newark on August 28 who tested positive on day 4;
• One resident on American Airlines from Charlotte on August 30, positive on arrival;
• One resident who arrived via United Airlines UA 1985 from Newark on 30 August, positive on arrival;
• One resident on JetBlue from New York on August 31, positive on arrival.
Of the island’s new cases, 39 had known contacts.
A further 74 were under investigation, involving residents with no known links or recent travel history.
The island’s coronavirus cases now stand at 3,048 since the start of the pandemic.
Ms Wilson called for patience in waiting on test results because of the high volume of testing.
She said that while a minimum 24 hours was expected to turn around PCR tests, results could take longer.
Ms Wilson reminded restaurants, bars and clubs to collect the required full contact tracing details from patrons, to be kept for 21 days, in addition to using SafeKey.
She added: “We are in the midst of a growing outbreak, and an essential part of controlling outbreaks is via contact tracing.
“This is the main way to stop further spread.”
Ms Wilson commended the island’s testing labs and contact tracers, who were “all very busy with the volume of testing and new positive cases”.
A pop-up vaccination clinic is offering the jab at Lindo’s, Devonshire on Tuesday from 10am to 2pm and Thursday, September 16, from 3pm to 7pm.
King Edward VII Memorial Hospital is open for appointments and walk-ins on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4pm to 7pm and Saturdays from 8am to 4pm.