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Covid-19 quarantines at hospital as cases continue

Still with us: the rapid antigen test, widely available for the public to test for Covid-19 (File photograph)

Two hospital units were on isolation yesterday after patients tested positive for Covid-19, with some staff on leave because of infections from the virus.

Health officials, who described Covid-19 as an ongoing reality, revealed that six deaths on the island so far this year were linked to the coronavirus, with 303 confirmed cases logged in 2024 up to June 8.

Kim Wilson, the health minister, reminded the public that the virus “has not gone away, we will probably always have cases in our community, and I urge everyone to continue taking precautions to avoid catching and spreading Covid-19”.

The ministry said that all of this year’s deaths were classed as “Covid-19-related”, because fatalities had not yet undergone full certification.

That process includes the coding of death certificates by the Registry-General, followed by validation by the epidemiology and surveillance unit as well as the Caribbean Public Health Agency.

The ministry added: “Nonetheless, these deaths are reported as meeting the surveillance case definition.”

Ms Wilson said self-testing meant most cases of Covid-19 were no longer reported directly.

The ministry monitors trends based on reports from “select healthcare providers and facilities”, including the Bermuda Hospitals Board, and by tracking outbreaks in “schools, long-term care facilities, and other identified locations”.

The health ministry’s information page on the Government’s website did not give specific figures, but is updated weekly — and will indicate when the island experienced a rise in cases.

Ms Wilson said residents should maintain “good hygiene, social distancing, and respiratory etiquette”.

Anyone with suspected symptoms of Covid-19 was advised to take a home antigen test or consult with a healthcare provider.

Positive cases should isolate for at least five days and close contacts should monitor their health and test accordingly.

A BHB spokeswoman said a long-term care unit at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital and a unit at the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute were under quarantine, with visits on hold, after an unspecified number of patients tested positive for the illness.

She added: “Patients in these areas are being monitored and receiving appropriate care as needed.”

The spokeswoman said: “Some of our 1,800 staff members are also on leave due to Covid infections.”

The BHB said: “We may feel like Covid is behind us, but it is important to remember that it’s still circulating in the community.

“Respiratory infections like Covid and flu can be particularly dangerous for our vulnerable patients and residents, whose immune systems may already be compromised.

“Members of the public should postpone visiting their loved ones in hospital if they don’t feel well.”

The spokeswoman added: “Even if visitors feel well, we recommend they wear masks when in close contact with patients in case they are infectious but do not have symptoms.

“Our policy is that staff wear masks for all patient interactions to minimise any chance of infection between staff and patients.”

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Published June 13, 2024 at 7:59 am (Updated June 13, 2024 at 7:41 am)

Covid-19 quarantines at hospital as cases continue

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