Covid-19: one more death as rules are relaxed
Bermuda has recorded another Covid-19 death, health officials revealed yesterday.
The news brought the death toll from the coronavirus pandemic to 128.
But Kim Wilson, the health minister, said the number of active cases continued to fall.
The island has 238 active infections, slightly down on the 241 reported on Monday.
There are seven infected people in hospital, although none are in intensive care.
There were ten people in hospital, one in intensive care, at the start of the week.
There have also been 110 recoveries since Monday.
Ms Wilson said businesses and other services should devise their own mask policies, although restrictions will be eased from tomorrow.
Contact tracing will no longer be required.
But Ms Wilson said it would be “helpful for businesses to develop a contingency plan to support contact tracing” and to alert health officials to cases of Covid-19.
She also appealed for social events be held outdoors.
Ayo Oyinloye, the Chief Medical Officer, said that the latest death was a graphic reminder “that this pandemic is not yet over”.
He added he was certain that the BA. 2 Omicron variant of the virus, now rampant in the US, was also spreading in Bermuda.
Dr Oyinloye warned: “Omicron, for some reason, does not like the lungs as much as the upper part of the airways. That makes it super, super infectious.”
Wesley Miller, the Chief of Staff at the Bermuda Hospitals Board, said that even though numbers of positive cases was dropping “we are just a variant away from trouble – we must let caution be the byword”.
Dr Miller added: ”We want to be in a position where more and more we can go back to enjoying normal life, with the proviso that we maintain caution, caution all the time.”
The use of masks indoors has been eased this week but they are still required for:
· Travel by bus or ferry – excluding the outside decks – as well as taxi, limousine or minibus, for passengers and operators;
· Working in or visiting health services such as a doctors or dentists, nurses, physiotherapists;
· Occupational therapists;
· Hospitals, dental facilities, laboratory, residential care facilities;
· Visiting or working in the prison system;
· In Government buildings and at the airport.
The policy will be reviewed at the Cabinet Covid-19 committee meeting on April 18.
He said that there had been an increase in the number of operations carried out at the hospital and more face-to-face clinics were being held.
Dr Miller added that morale at the hospital remained good – but it remained prepared for an rise in cases with the ability increase the number of critical care beds to 20.
He said the hospital was better prepared to deal with a new variant or a spike because of the number of vaccinated people and a population that was prepared to co-operate with restrictions.
The Pier 6 vaccination clinic on Front Street in Hamilton closed today.
But the Government will continue to provide the jab from tomorrow at the former Crisson & Hind art gallery at 71 Front Street, from noon to 5.30pm until April 15.
Appointments are required.
There is no wheelchair access, but people in wheelchairs can make an appointment for the vaccine at the Hamilton Health Centre on Victoria Street.
The vaccine is also available at a price of $29.95 at pharmacies and private clinics.
All insurers except GEHI will cover the full cost of the vaccine. GEHI will require a co-pay.