18 New Positive Coronavirus Cases, 92 Active Cases As Numbers Continue To Rise

The Ministry of Health received 4927 test results since the last update, and 18 were positive for COVID-19. This gives a test positivity rate of 0.4%.

These results are from testing done on the following dates:
·         Monday, August 9: 8 positive out of 2354 results (0.3% positivity), and

·         Tuesday, August 10: 10 positive out of 2573 results (0.4% positivity)

2 of the new cases are classified as imported with details as follows:
·         1 resident who arrived on Jet Blue B6203 from Boston on August 5 and tested positive on their day 4 test

·         1 resident who arrived on American Airlines AA 2044 from Charlotte on August 10 and tested positive on their arrival test

12 of the new cases are classified as local transmission with known contact as they are associated with known cases.
The additional 4 new cases are classified as under investigation. These cases are among residents with no currently identified link to other known cases or history of travel in the past 14 days.

Additionally, since the last update, there were nine (9) recoveries and no deaths.

There are currently 92 active cases, of which;
·         89 are under public health monitoring and;
·         3 are in the hospital, with 1 in intensive care.

Since March 2020, Bermuda has recorded 2663 total confirmed cases of COVID-19; out of those, 2538 persons have recovered, and sadly, there have been 33 COVID related deaths.

The source of all active cases is as follows:
·         34 are Imported
·         47 are classified as local transmission of which:
o   47 are Local transmission with known contact/source and
o   0 are Local transmission with an unknown contact/source
·         11 are Under Investigation

Of the active cases:

By vaccination status: 42 (46%) are fully vaccinated, and 50 (54%) are not vaccinated, including those not eligible for vaccination.

By vaccination status and transmission:

Imported cases: 23 (68%) are fully vaccinated, and 11 (32%) are not vaccinated, including those not eligible for vaccination.

Local/Under Investigation cases: 19 (33%) are fully vaccinated, and 39 (67%) are not vaccinated, including those not eligible for vaccination.

Of the active cases, by variant type: none are Alpha, none are Beta, 81 are Delta, none are Gamma or the wildtype, 10 are not able to be determined, and one is not available.
The source of all confirmed cases is as follows:
·         391 are Imported
·         2256 are classified as local transmission of which:
o   1760 are Local transmission with known contact/source and
o   496 are Local transmission with an unknown contact/source
·         16 are Under Investigation
As investigations proceed, transmission categories may change.
The seven-day average of our real-time reproduction number is less than 1.
Bermuda’s current WHO country status remains “Sporadic Cases”.

I will now provide an update on our vaccination programme.

We have completed 30 weeks of vaccinations. Since January 11, Bermuda has administered a total of 83,543 vaccinations.

Of the 83,543 vaccinations given as of August 7:
– 52% are women and,
– 48% are men

82.7% of all residents over the age of 65 years have had at least one vaccination and 81.4% are fully immunised.
To date, 65.7% of the population has been vaccinated (1 dose), and 64.4% of the population has been immunised (2 doses).

We have five active confirmed clusters. This is concerning. We cannot afford another outbreak and its impact on our health and safety, our economy, and not to mention the stress it would put on our entire healthcare system.

As I have repeatedly stressed, the vaccine against COVID-19 is one of the single most important measures to keep our community safe.

Vaccines prevent approximately 80% of symptomatic infections, and vaccines prevent approximately 96% of hospitalisations and deaths. Vaccines also appear to reduce transmission.

As I said earlier, of Bermuda’s 34 active imported cases, 68% are fully vaccinated, and 32% are not vaccinated or eligible for vaccination.

Of our 58 local transmission cases or cases under investigation with no known connection to travel the situation is reversed, 33% are fully vaccinated, and 69% are not vaccinated or eligible for vaccination. In other words, for local transmission, not surprisingly, the majority of persons who are positive are not vaccinated.

There are more than 100 positive cases associated with this outbreak. Current evidence suggests that there have been a handful of instances where a fully vaccinated person has transmitted the virus to someone who is also fully vaccinated. Overwhelmingly, locally, people are getting the infection from unvaccinated people or residents are getting infected when they travel overseas.

Currently, the Government is not proposing further restrictions, but this situation is being closely monitored. This means everyone must take responsibility for their actions. No one wants to see a surge in coronavirus cases, and especially hospitilisations and deaths.

I will continue to remind you that the Delta variant is highly transmissible, and it is critical that everyone, vaccinated or not, gets back to the basics. Wear a mask, practice good hand hygiene and keep physically distanced from those not in your household.

When you travel you must be extremely vigilant. It is obvious that many residents are getting infected in other countries, and then returning home. Fortunately, most travellers are fully vaccinated. Remember: mask wearing is just as important when you travel off the island as it is when you are here on island.

Businesses also need to get back to the basics and ensure that adequate hand sanitiser is readily available and proper contact tracing is strictly maintained. I will remind the business community that this is not voluntary; it is a requirement, and enforcement action may be taken against businesses that do not comply.

I will now discuss the most recent amendments to the Quarantine Order: The Quarantine (COVID-19) (No. 3) Amendment (No. 3) Order 2021.

The first amendment will establish border rules for cruise ship passengers arriving by sea.

A cruise passenger is “a person who intends to travel by sea to and be landed in Bermuda”.
A mariner is a sailor, and so cruise passengers are identified separately.

The requirements for cruise passengers are to:
·         obtain a COVID-19 vaccination,
·         obtain a negative COVID-19 PCR test result no more than four days before departure from their last port prior to arriving in Bermuda,
·         apply for a travel authorisation (TA) by completing the TA form on the Government Portal and,
·         if a passenger arrives here unvaccinated, that person, similar to mariners,  must quarantine on board the ship as directed by the Chief Medical Officer..

The second amendment concerns two vaccines, Sinovac and Sinopharm, which will be added to the list of approved vaccines for travellers. Several travellers to Bermuda have only had access to these two vaccines and, as such, are considered unvaccinated by Bermuda law. It is not intended that these vaccines be used for our local community immunisation programme.

The third amendment is regarding the ticketing regime for breaches of public health and quarantine measures and requirements.

Breaches of the legislation will result in an on-the-spot fixed penalty ticket and a $500 fine that must be paid within 28 days to avoid criminal prosecution.

Examples of breaches for which a quarantine penalty ticket can be issued are:

a)    failure to comply with the public health supervision requirements for 14 days after arrival,
b)    failure to comply with the requirement to be COVID tested, or
c)    failure to use the electronic monitoring bracelet as directed.

Examples of breaches for which a public health penalty ticket can be issued are:
a)    visiting a person who is in quarantine or isolation,
b)    hosting or assembling a group of people larger than the permitted group size without an exemption, or
c)    leaving a place of active monitoring, i.e. a place of quarantine, after potential exposure to COVID-19.

In terms of enforcement, Health’s Compliance Officers are preparing files for the Bermuda Police Service and the Department of Public Prosecution regarding cases where people have left quarantine, provided false information as part of their travel authorisation or not followed the travel continuum.

Additionally, Environmental Health Officers are doing spot checks on restaurants, bars, shops and other public places to make sure hand sanitiser is available and proper contact tracing records are being kept. These are areas where business operators have reduced their efforts, and penalty tickets can be issued in these situations too.
We encourage you to get tested to know your status, and if eligible, get vaccinated.

It is important for persons to quarantine, according to the quarantine rules, if you are required to do so, as it helps avoid putting others at risk of catching the virus and spreading it throughout the wider community. After exposure, it may take up to 14 days before infection develops. Persons become infectious and can spread the virus to others 2 days before their symptoms start and up to 7 days before their positive test result if the positive person does not have any symptoms.

We are also ur