4 New Positive Coronavirus Cases Identified

The Ministry of Health received 7733 test results since the last update, and four (4) were positive for COVID-19. This gives a test positivity rate of 0.05%.

These results are from testing done on the following dates:
·         Thursday, July 8: 2 positive out of 2050 results (0.1% positivity)
·         Friday, July 9: 1 positive out of 1923 results (0.1% positivity)
·         Saturday, July 10: 0 positive out of 1950 results (0.0% positivity)
·         Sunday, July 11: 1 positive out of 1810 results (0.1% positivity)
All four (4) of the new cases are classified as imported with details as follows:
·         2 residents who arrived on British Airways BA 159 from London on 4 July 2021 and tested positive on their day 4 test
·         1 resident who arrived on American Airlines AA 2044 from Charlotte on 9 July 2021 and tested positive on their arrival test
·         1 resident who arrived on Delta Airlines DL 617 from New York on 7 July 2021 and tested positive on their Day 4 test

Additionally, since the last update, there were four (4) recoveries and no deaths.
There are currently 11 active cases, of which;
·         11 are under public health monitoring and;
·         None are in the hospital.

Since March 2020, Bermuda has recorded 2525 total confirmed cases of COVID-19; out of those, 2481 persons have recovered, and sadly, there have been 33 COVID related deaths.

The source of all cases is as follows:
·         329 are Imported
·         2193 are classified as local transmission of which:
o   1698 are Local transmission with known contact/source and
o   495 are Local transmission with an unknown contact/source
·         3 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”.

The decline of new coronavirus cases in Bermuda is encouraging, but we must not let our guard down. I want to thank the community for continuing to do their part in following the guidelines, caring about the health of all of us and helping to keep our community safe.

Yesterday, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) adjusted the Travel Health Notice for Bermuda, de-escalating Bermuda’s status from Level 2, moderate level of COVID-19, to Level 1, low level of COVID-19 in Bermuda.

This is good news for Bermuda and indeed a step in the right direction as we work hard to get more visitors to our shores.

I will now provide an update on our vaccination programme…
We have completed the twenty-sixth (26) full week of vaccinations. Since January 11th Bermuda has administered a total of 82,050 vaccinations.

Of the 82,050 vaccinations given as of July 10:
·         52% are women and,

·         48% are men

82.1% of all residents over the age of 65 years have had at least one vaccination and 80.8% are fully immunized.

To date, 64.8% of the population has been vaccinated (1 dose), and 63.3% of the population has been immunized (2 doses).

The Pfizer BioNTech vaccine is available at the KEMH vaccination centre. Walk-ins are available between 4 and 7pm Monday to Friday, or 8am to noon on Saturday. The vaccination centre is closed on Sundays.

I recognise that a lot of the reluctance around getting vaccinated comes from misinformation. However, the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks at this time.

I encourage anyone who is trying to make up their mind about getting vaccinated, to seek information that is supported by science and rely on guidance from reliable sources.

Now is the definitely the time to get vaccinated while we have enough vaccine doses available. The sooner you get vaccinated, the sooner you are protected, the sooner our community is protected, and the sooner we can get back to normal.

The longer you wait to be vaccinated, the higher your risk of catching COVID-19, and the longer we will have restrictions.

The Government is extending vaccine-based resident SafeKeys by one month. Those vaccine-based SafeKeys that expire July 15 can go to gov.bm/safekey to have their SafeKey extended to August 15.

For those needing assistance with their travel authorization, there is a toll-free number available for travellers calling the COVID-19 helpline from the United States and Canada. The number is 1-833-570-2594. Also, as additional staff is hired and trained, the Call Centre will be extending its hours of operation beyond the current 8.00am to 8.00pm.

In closing, there has been much discussion in the news media and on social media platforms about ‘natural immunity’. Let me be clear: having a prior infection of COVID-19 is not the equivalent of vaccination. A prior infection is not, and has never been, accepted as an approved ‘version’ of vaccination.

The CMO can speak in more detail regarding the difference between immunity from infection and immunity generated following immunization.

However, I can say the strength of the protection offered by the vaccine is designed to give the body the best chance of fighting off the virus with minimal side effects. The strength of protection offered by infection really depends on the amount of virus that enters the body and how ill the patient becomes.
Patients with milder infection generally have lower levels of antibodies in their system compared with patients who have severe infection and were hospitalized.

The best protection against COVID-19 is provided by vaccines.

Bermuda’s list of approved vaccines, which will allow a traveller to be exempt from 14-day quarantine includes: Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca, the Serum Institute of India’s Covishield (which is AstraZeneca), Johnson & Johnson and Moderna.

Please remember, each of us must do our part to stop the spread of the coronavirus. It is essential that we all follow Public Health guidelines, as I stated before, and wear a mask, practice good hand hygiene, maintain physical distance and download the WeHealth Bermuda app.

Do the research, talk with a reliable source and make an informed decision about getting the COVID-19 vaccine. There is a wealth of information about the vaccines online at gov.bm.
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