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Minister on Covid: ‘only a matter of time before situation is unmanageable’

Another Covid-19 death was announced last night as the number of active infections increased to 1,238.

The grim news meant that the death toll now stands at 38, with 51 people in hospital, 13 of them in intensive care.

The island recorded another 191 infections from 3,543 tests carried out on Tuesday – a positivity rate of 5.4 per cent and another record daily high.

Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, warned: “Our situation is critical.

“This outbreak continues to spread fast – it is everywhere in our community and, at the risk of causing panic, it is only a matter of time before the situation is unmanageable.”

Ms Wilson said: “The hospital, public and private labs, contact tracers, testers, indeed, our entire healthcare sector, are all under tremendous pressure.

“They are doing a fabulous job and I cannot commend them enough.

“But we must all do our part to help ease this pressure.”

Ms Wilson added: “Sadly, tonight I am reporting another Covid-related death.

“I extend heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of the deceased.”

The island has now logged 945 cases in the nine days between last Monday and Tuesday.

Tuesday’s high of 191 cases supersedes the previous high of 150 set on Monday.

The record before that was 130, set last Wednesday.

Public safety measures to combat the current Covid-19 surge came into effect last night. They include:

A curfew from 12.30 am until 5am for the next two weeks. People will be expected to remain in their homes between these times, although essential services workers will be exempted.

The size for large gatherings will be reduced from 50 to 20 people for the next four weeks.

Restaurants, bars, night clubs and sports or members’ clubs will have to limit tables to no more than ten customers, with tables six feet apart.

Bar service will be permitted but customers must be seated. Standing at bars will not be allowed.

Police will be given the power to close establishments if they are non-compliant with public health directions.

No boat raft-ups will be allowed, whether recreational or commercial.

Face masks must be worn indoors and must also be worn in crowded outdoor settings where a six feet physical distance cannot be maintained.

Of the 1,238 active cases, 88 are said to have been imported, 213 are from local transmission, and 937 are under investigation.

The vast majority of positive test results have come from patients who have not been vaccinated.

Ms Wilson also revealed that the Government would introduce a more efficient system of contact tracing.

She said: “When a test result comes back positive, persons will be notified via the e-mail address provided on their test booking.

“The notification e-mail will include necessary information on the steps the person who tested must take with respect to isolation and other matters.

“This is a great tool to assist our contact tracers who are overwhelmed due to the sheer number of cases.”

Ms Wilson told the public: “Please provide an e-mail address on your test booking if you want to benefit from this speedier notification process.”

Ms Wilson renewed her plea for anyone who had Covid-19 symptoms, however minor, to stay at home.

And she appealed for hospital patients who were “medically fit for discharge” to return home.

Ms Wilson said: “The hospital is under tremendous pressure and they need the space for additional admissions, not all of which are Covid-related.

“An overwhelmed hospital with no available beds puts critically ill patients at risk.

“Anyone who can be discharged must leave the hospital to free up much needed bed space.”

Ms Wilson appealed to the country to “act responsibly and adhere to the public health guidelines”.

She said: “Bermuda, we are in a very serious situation and in order to get through this, we must take responsibility for ourselves and others in our community”.

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Published September 19, 2021 at 8:36 pm (Updated September 19, 2021 at 8:36 pm)

Minister on Covid: ‘only a matter of time before situation is unmanageable’

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