Four more people die from Covid, active cases again soar, care homes see outbreaks
Four people have died this weekend from Covid-19, bringing the death toll from coronavirus to 42, while the number of active cases of the virus has soared to 1,427.
Outbreaks of the virus have also been reported in “several” long-term care homes, affecting residents as well as staff.
Numbers in hospital are at 51, with 12 now in intensive care.
The island is not facing a shortage of testing supplies, but community testing is to be scaled back to ensure reliable testing is maintained.
David Burt, the Premier, said resorting to lockdown was not planned.
But he said he had requested more supplies of the vaccine from Government House, with the expectation of them reaching the island by the end of the month.
Registrations for the vaccine have increased.
Mr Burt gave condolences to the families who had lost loved ones, adding: “When we imposed shelter-in-place, we did not have other things available to protect the public.
“Now that all residents have had the opportunity to get vaccinated, we cannot resort to lockdowns as the first response.
“The vaccine provides us with a means to avoid blanket actions that can cause economic and social harm even while necessary in certain circumstances to deal with public health concerns.
“Due to our high level of vaccination, we do not have to stop everything in the midst of this outbreak, but we expect rigorous enforcement of existing public health regulations that will change the trajectory of this outbreak.”
Kim Wilson, the health minister, said care homes hit by outbreaks were under surveillance. She urged unaffected facilities to develop an outbreak control plan.
Ms Wilson said many had been hit by “critical staff shortages” requiring Government support on staffing, equipment and supplies.
She said walk-ins were not being accepted for testing, and said those in need of time-sensitive outbound travel tests to use private labs: Helix Genetic and Scientific Solutions, or C & S West Limited.
Priority for testing is for symptomatic cases, close contacts, arriving passengers, and care homes.
Mr Burt said the level of testing had taxed the Government’s Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory “significantly”.
The Premier added: “Now is the time for people who have been hesitant to get vaccinated to speak with their doctors.
“This is especially important for those whose employment is in a high-risk setting.
“Healthcare workers, caregivers for the elderly, and teachers should speak to their doctor about getting vaccinated.”
Ms Wilson attributed the wave of new cases to the Delta variant of the virus, which is highly contagious.
She echoed Mr Burt’s condolences, adding: “As a community, we are again harshly reminded of the fatal nature of this virus.”
The latest 6,521 test results since the Government’s Friday update showed 259 positive for the virus.
There have been 66 recoveries, and the hospital reported three new discharges of Covid-19 patients while and two new patients were admitted.
The age groups of people with Covid-19 can be seen on www.gov.bm’s Covid update
An automatic contract tracing form was updated online today, for people testing positive to notify others.
Schools are to be individually assessed, including their saliva testing numbers, before any decision allowing pupils to return from remote learning.