September 1 2020 Press Conference COVID-19 Update

Bermuda Government COVID-19 Update September 1 2020

 

Good Afternoon,

Today there were 734 test results received by the Ministry of Health, and none were positive for COVID-19.

Bermuda has had 172 total confirmed positive cases. Their status is as follows:

  • 157 have recovered, and
  • there are 6 active cases, who are
  • all under active public health monitoring;
  • none are hospitalized or in critical care, and
  • the total deceased remains at 9.

The average age of all of our confirmed positive cases is 57 and the age range of all of our positive cases is from 18 to 101 years.

Overall, 50% of cases were Black, 40% White and 10% other/unknown.

The source of all local cases is as follows:

  • 64 are Imported
  • 87 are Local transmission, with known contact
  • 19 are Local transmission with an unknown contact, and
  • 2 are under investigation

Bermuda’s country status remains “Sporadic Cases”. The seven-day average of our real time reproduction number is less than 1.

Bermuda has now performed nearly 46,000 tests, ranking us 7th in the world for tests per capita and highest in the American continent. The intensity of our testing regime is enabling us to keep out borders open and our economy recovering – and to do so safely.

We know that we cannot keep COVID out 100% as long as there is a global pandemic, but our public health border controls and surveillance measures mean that we can promptly identify and isolate new cases to contain spread in the community. I’m immensely grateful to the exhausted Ministry of Health teams – and our partner Government agencies including Tourism, Transport, Customs and National Security – for their part in this critical undertaking.

Regarding testing matters, I am pleased to announce today that we are currently building capacity in our care homes for them to do their own COVID-19 testing. This should significantly speed-up and simplify the testing process for our most vulnerable population and also free up internal testing resources at the Ministry of Health.

As it stands currently, residents are already tested in their respective care home but staff must attend pop-up testing sites; we are looking to do all testing in-house in the very near future.

Regarding travel updates, I can inform you that, starting September 9, we will launch an approval process for the Travel Authorization applications.

Travel Authorizations will need to be purchased between 1 to 3 days before travel. This is to allow the pre-departure test uploaded to be reviewed and approved as part of their application.

A valid pre-departure test result must meet the following standards:

  • Display travellers’ full name and date of birth
  • Date of Test must be within 7 days of departure
  • Test result must be negative
  • Test type must be a PCR test
  • Test must be performed by an accredited laboratory
  • Display full name of laboratory and contact information for laboratory

If a traveller’s pre-departure test result is deemed valid, they will be issued a Travel Authorization.

Visitors who do not submit a valid pre-departure test result will be notified that their test is not valid and will be given the opportunity to submit a valid result. If a visitor cannot submit a valid test result, they will be denied a Travel Authorization and will not be able to travel to Bermuda.

Residents who cannot provide a valid pre-departure test will be issued a Travel Authorization and will quarantine as required.

Travel Authorizations will be vetted between 9am and 8pm. Any traveller needing an emergency Travel Authorization issued the day of travel must contact the COVID hotline.

Also, from next week, the Travel Authorization fee for travellers without a pre-departure test will increase to $105 to cover the cost of the quarantine bracelets required to ensure persons adhere to the required quarantine until they receive a negative Day-8 test result.

Moving on from travel, our movements in Bermuda must continue to follow physical distancing guidelines. I fear that in private settings, in particular, many people are forgetting the basic rules we established when the world’s fight against coronavirus started: no handshakes, no hugs, no kisses.

We Bermudians are a warm, affectionate people, so I realize this is hard for us. But please resist the urge to touch anyone outside your household or small contact bubble.

Keep your distance, bump elbows or feet to greet, bow elegantly with a gentle “Namaste” if you are so inclined. But please avoid greetings and activities that involve touching.
Further, the Ministry of Health is reminding residents that all restaurant patrons must wear a mask at all times when not seated at their table. This includes entering the premises and exiting, as well as when using the restroom. The wearing of masks in these instances is compulsory and dining establishments are required to enforce these rules.

I would like to remind members of the public to please provide your contact details at the businesses you visit such as bars, restaurants, gyms, salons, theatres and recreational charter boats in case the Ministry of Health needs to contact you about a possible COVID-19 exposure. For more information about contact tracing or anything related to COVID-19 please go to coronavirus.gov.bm

I end by reminding us all to avoid the 3 Cs: closed spaces, crowded spaces and close-contact settings. And wear your masks, always.

Stay safe, Bermuda, and thank You.