Covid-19 claims two more lives, but number of active infections falls
Another two people have died from Covid-19 as the number of active cases continued to fall.
Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, announced the deaths last night, along with another 290 coronavirus cases identified on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.
The two new deaths put the total number of people who have died as a result of Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic at 116.
But 603 people have recovered since the last update on Monday, which has caused the number of active cases to fall to 1,404 with seven patients in hospital and two in intensive care.
Ms Wilson said the latest surge of cases sparked by the Omicron variant was not over, but the Ministry of Health had begun a review of the island’s Covid-19 regulations with the intention of introducing changes on February 4.
She said: “We are assessing a number of metrics, including our vaccination rate and the Covid-19 indicators for our current outbreak.
“Additionally, and importantly, we are taking into account the Government’s shift to living with Covid, which requires all of us to take personal responsibility for our actions.”
Ms Wilson added the Government was also looking to “reset” the island’s travel testing regulations by April 1.
The minister said that of the 290 new cases, 32 cases were classified as coming in from overseas and the remaining 258 were either the result of on-island transmission or under investigation.
Ms Wilson was speaking after it was announced that England has dropped compulsory mask wearing in shops, the use of vaccine certificates and work from home guidance.
She said that 101 people had died of Covid-19 since January 11 2021 when the Government’s vaccination programme was launched.
She added 86 of the fatalities were not fully vaccinated.
Ms Wilson said that of the 337 hospitalisations for Covid-19 in the same period, 284 involved patients that were not fully vaccinated.
She said that 72.9 per cent of the public have received at least one Covid-19 vaccination and 71.6 have received two.
Ms Wilson added that 64.8 per cent of those eligible had been given a booster shot.
Boosters are available for young people over the age of 12 who got their second shot more than six months ago.
Quarantine policies were softened by the Government earlier this month, but rules remain in place to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Mandatory quarantine is no longer required for contacts of a positive case who do not show symptoms if their last dose of the vaccine, whether second jab or booster shot, had been administered inside six months.
People who have had both doses of vaccine but test positive for the coronavirus must isolate for seven days and get a clear antigen test.
Unvaccinated people who test positive or are found to be close contacts of an infected individual must isolate for ten days and have a clear test before they can resume normal life.
Travellers to the island who have had the full jab must have a pretest, test on arrival, and get a clear Day 4 verified antigen test.
She also said that a “smooth changeover” of leadership at the Molecular Diagnostic Labs would be made next week with the assistance of the Bermuda Health Council.
Ms Wilson said: “The staff at MDL is experienced and well trained, and Dr Carika Weldon is to be commended for her leadership to date and her assistance with this transition.”
She added that the Covid-19 surge sparked by the Omicron variant was not over and that the public had to take responsibility for themselves and others.
Ms Wilson said: “Each of us has a role to play in stopping the spread of the coronavirus.
She told the public: “Follow the public health guidelines, wear your mask, practice good hand hygiene and maintain physical distancing.”
Wesley Miller, the Chief of Staff at the Bermuda Hospitals Board, said that the Omicron variant was more contagious than earlier strains, but hospitalised patients had recovered faster.
Dr Miller added: “Staffing has been a challenge, and certainly we did anticipate that and put in place measures to mitigate that.
“To our benefit and the benefit of everyone, the new regulations on quarantine meant that we could have some staff who may have just had exposure come back to work earlier.”
He added that the wave sparked by the Delta variant had forced the hospital to put elective surgery on hold, but operations had gone ahead during the latest spike.