Government refuses to detail Omicron impact on its services
The Government last night stayed tight-lipped on how essential services had been affected by the latest wave of coronavirus infections — despite repeated questions from TheRoyal Gazette.
Officials were e-mailed a series of questions last week asking if the recent surge in cases of the Omicron variant had caused high absenteeism among government employees — and a reduction in government services.
The Government was also asked what impact the highly infectious bug was having on the economy and if it could bring the island to a standstill.
A spokeswoman said last night: “Like the private sector, the Government continues to navigate through an increase in coronavirus cases.”
She added: “In terms of specific staff shortage numbers, again, as advised previously, this will always be a fluid number as on any given day any particular service may be impacted due to staff outages.
“Further, the Government does not comment on personnel who are out due to illness or quarantine.”
But she said: “As it relates to Bermuda’s emergency services, staffing levels are meeting operational needs.
“The community is assured that emergency services are being managed and attended to during this time.
“The Government extends its appreciation to all our public servants and essential services workers who are on the front line doing their part to keep our community safe.”
The spokeswoman added that, although there may be “some impacts on some services in some areas”, contingency plans were in place.
She said: “Government departments are managing through any shortages by either instituting remote working, working on a rotational schedule, or redeploying resources where necessary.
“Also, as a contingency, virtual and online methods will be continue to be used to provide services to the public.”
She was speaking after the Bermuda Hospitals Board and the Bermuda Police Service insisted that services would not be affected by the surge in infections.
The government spokeswoman backed up the views of the other public services.
She said: “Ensuring the hospital is not overwhelmed is a direct element of safeguarding our society.
“If the hospital is overwhelmed and unable to service daily and urgent matters, the public is at severe risk of not receiving critical care and delays can ultimately cause long-term effects.
“The hospital is an important part of society that must be protected.”