Premier Responds to Petition

Press Release from Premier David Burt, re Petition

Monday, June 29th, 2020

Premier and Minister of Finance, the Hon. David Burt

In response to a petition requesting the government not allow flights in to Bermuda from the United States, Premier the Hon. David Burt, JP MP, today stated, “The Government is aware of the petition that is circulating and the rightful concerns raised by the organizers and those who are signing it. As a country we have managed the impact of COVID-19 in Bermuda. Our current World Health Organization status is sporadic cases.

“This Government’s goal has always been to contain and minimize the impact of the virus, which we have done. However we can’t let the economic impact on the country be worse than the disease itself. In the last three months, the Government has implemented stringent public health guidelines and taken a phased approach to safely opening our economy. This is the next step in a careful and deliberate process.

“We know public health measures work. Physical distancing, wearing a mask and washing hands frequently together with enhanced sanitization processes work. The other key to our success has been extensive testing. In the last few weeks, we have put in place pop up testing locations so everyone can get tested.”

The Premier continued, “Now it is vital that we open the airport and allow visitors to arrive. This is a critical step required to get hundreds of hospitality workers back to work. Our testing requirements for visitors are the most stringent in the world and are designed to keep our residents and visitors safe. The guidelines we are implementing will be strictly adhered to.

“Visitors are strongly encouraged to get tested three to five days before they come to Bermuda. If their testing results are delayed, they will have the option to come to Bermuda, but they will be tested upon arrival and then tested again on day three of their visit. During those three days, the visitor will be required to quarantine in the room at their accommodation. If the pre-departure test result arrives during the 3-day quarantine it will be counted as a valid pre-departure test and the visitor will be released from quarantine.

“Additionally, all visitors coming to Bermuda who have a negative test result will be required to be tested when they arrive, on day 3, day 7 and day 14 of their stay. The number of tests required obviously depends on the length of stay.

“If at any time their test result is positive they will be fitted with a quarantine bracelet and will be required to isolate in their room. The bracelets will alert the authorities if the person attempts to leave their room.

“All visitors will be required to complete an electronic pre-boarding form before they can board a plane to Bermuda. They cannot have a positive test result and must not be sick or have COVID-19 symptoms. The visitor must demonstrate they have health/medical insurance to cover all medical costs should they get sick while in Bermuda.

“If a visitor becomes ill while in Bermuda, they will be required to isolate for a minimum of 14 days at their own expense or until they can leave the island by private jet or yacht.

“Additionally visitors will be told of the requirement to wear a mask, how to establish physical distancing and the requirement to frequently wash their hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer.”

The Premier concluded, “As we move forward, we will continually examine our protocols and adjust them, as needed. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have proven to be nimble in our response. All agencies involved have shared information and worked together closely. This will continue. We will do all in our power to make sure people in Bermuda remain safe.

“If breaches are observed, members of the public can dial 211 to file a report with the Bermuda Police Service who will investigate immediately.

“We have developed a good record and strong reputation for our handling of the crisis. This will continue.”

May 27th Press Release

COVID-19 UPDATE – May 27

27 May, 2020

Today there were 53 test results received by the Ministry of Health; and none were positive for COVID-19.

Bermuda has 139 total confirmed positive cases. Their status is as follows:

  • there are 39 active cases, of which
  • 30 persons are under active public health monitoring, and
  • 9 persons are hospitalized; of which
  • 2 are in critical care;
  • a total of 91 have now recovered, and
  • the total deceased remains 9.

The average age of all of our confirmed positive cases is 61 and the age range of all of our positive cases is from 18 to 101 years.

The average age of persons hospitalized is 76 and their age ranges from 66 to 91 years.

The average age of all deceased cases is 74 and the age range is 57 to 91 years.

The source of all local cases is as follows:

  • 41 are Imported
  • 81 are Local transmission, with known contact
  • 10 are Local transmission with an unknown contact, and
  • 7 are under investigation

Bermuda’s country status remains “Local Transmission – Cluster of Cases”.

The Minister of Health the Hon. Kim Wilson JP MP said, “I’d like to remind the public that persons who are uninsured and have health concerns or need to speak to a GP, can access the Argus-sponsored Telenurse service through the COVID-19 Helpline. This is a pilot programme and we encourage eligible persons to reach out to seek assistance.”

May 26th Press Release

Ministry of Health May 26th Press Release

COVID-19 UPDATE

26 May, 2020

Today there were 170 test results received by the Ministry of Health; and 6 were positive for COVID-19.

“I’m sure everyone will agree how very concerning it is to see 6 positive results today”. “I can advise that four of the cases were found through BHB’s routine testing programme, in particular testing of admissions, and two were found through physician referrals. 3 are local transmission and 3 are under investigation. Despite this recent uptick in cases, our real time reproduction number is 0.91. However, as we have entered Phase 2 of the Island’s reopening, these new cases must serve as a reminder of the importance of preventive measures: hand hygiene, physical distancing and mask wearing.”

Bermuda now has 139 total confirmed positive cases. Their status is as follows:

  • there are 39 active cases, of which
  • 30 persons are under active public health monitoring, and
  • 9 persons are hospitalized; of which
  • 2 are in critical care;
  • a total of 91 have now recovered, and
  • the total deceased remains 9.

The average age of all of our confirmed positive cases is 61 and the age range of all of our positive cases is from 18 to 101 years.

The average age of hospitalized cases is 76 and the age range is 66 to 91 years.

The average age of all deceased cases is 74 and the age range is 57 to 91 years.

The source of all local cases is as follows:

  • 41 are Imported
  • 81 are Local transmission, with known contact
  • 10 are Local transmission with an unknown contact, and
  • 7 are under investigation

Bermuda’s country status remains “Local Transmission – Cluster of Cases”.

There has been much public interest in testing capability and the Ministry of Health would like to remind the public that only pre-approved entities can import COVID-19 test kits.

Pre-approved entities complete an online form to procure test kits for which various National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) have authorized for Emergency Use.

The link to the form is here: forms.gov.bm/covid-19/testkitapproval

Submissions are reviewed to ensure proposed items have been authorized by an NRA.

“As the public may be aware, there is an abundance of falsified COVID-19 test kits that exist for sale in the global market,” explained Minister Wilson. “This online form has been created to ensure that only test kits that have been authorized by a National Regulatory Authority reach our shores.

“This process will also assist pre-approved entities in verifying that an NRA has deemed the performance of these test kits as satisfactory, prior to their procurement.”

The WHO website provides links to several NRA Emergency Use lists.

Additionally, the Ministry of Health wishes to remind the public that, currently, only Day Care Centres can apply to the Ministry of Health to reopen. At present the Day Care Providers have all received the guidance and are putting things in place in preparation for Phase 3.

Ministry of Health Press Release

COVID-19 UPDATE – Ministry of Health – 23 May

23 May, 2020

Today there were 229 test results received by the Ministry of Health; and 5 were positive for COVID-19.

Of the 5 new cases:

-2 are imported (individuals already in quarantine) 

-1 is local transmission with a known source

-2 are under investigation

Bermuda has 133 total confirmed positive cases. Their status is as follows:

  • there are 43 active cases, of which
  • 36 persons are under active public health monitoring, and
  • 7 persons are hospitalized; of which
  • 2 are in critical care;
  • a total of 81 have now recovered, and
  • the total deceased is 9.

The average age of all of our confirmed positive cases is 60 and the age range of all of our positive cases is from 18 to 101 years.

The average age of hospitalized cases is 79 and the age range is 70 to 91 years.

The average age of all deceased cases is 74 and the age range is 57 to 91 years.

The source of all local cases is as follows:

  • 41 are Imported
  • 78 are Local transmission, with known contact
  • 10 are Local transmission with an unknown contact, and
  • 4 are under investigation

Bermuda’s country status remains “Local Transmission – Cluster of Cases”.

Positive Numbers Increased

Ministry of Health – COVID-19 Update

12 May, 2020

Today there were 153 test results received by the Ministry of Health; and 2 were positive for COVID-19.

Bermuda now has 121 total confirmed positive cases. Their status is as follows:

  • There are 47 active cases, of which 40 persons are under active public health monitoring, and 7 persons are hospitalized with 2 of these in critical care.
  • A total of 66 have now recovered, and
  • The total deceased is 8.

The average age of all of our confirmed positive cases is 59 and the age range of all of our positive cases is from 18 to 101 years.

The age of persons hospitalized ranges between 68 and 89 years, and the average age is 78.

The average age of all deceased cases is 75 and the age range is 57 to 91 years.

COVID-19 Regulations Amended

During the virtual session of the House of Assembly on 8 May 2020, the following changes to the Emergency Powers (COVID-19 Continuing Precautions) Amendments Regulation 2020 were confirmed by Premier, the Hon. David Burt, JP, MP.

Marriages and domestic partnerships can now take place with no more than ten people, including the officiant, in attendance;

Clarity was given around SCUBA diving. It is prohibited during Phase One; and

Money service businesses* are permitted to operate with the permission of the Minister of National Security, restricting the number of customers inside at any given time.

When giving the Government’s reasons for the amendments Premier Burt stated, “The rationale for the first change is perhaps down to the spring air or the Shelter in Place after-effects as we have noted requests for couples to be married and whilst the Regulations permit funerals, this equally important ceremony and celebration should not be eliminated even in the time of COVID-19.”

The Premier added, “On the second change, medical and public health advice strongly suggests that recreational scuba diving and the risk presented by a rescue situation cannot be mitigated presently as the oxygen for the recompression chamber at KEMH has been diverted to be available for additional ventilators if needed and as such there would be no ability to treat a diver with the bends. Additionally, a dive related rescue is high risk of COVID transmission if either victim or rescuer is asymptomatic. Money service businesses provide a viable alternative to banking services for many citizens who in some cases are not able to avail themselves of standard bank accounts to receive funds or cash cheques.”

*Licensed money service businesses must receive permission from the Minster of National Security prior to opening their business.

Note:

The Amendments can be found at: Regulation Amendments. The Regulations are the Emergency Powers (COVID-19 Continuing Precautions) Regulations 2020 which governs movement and activities of people living in Bermuda.

Thank You Video From Bermuda Government

CITV – Thank you to all of the healthcare and critical and essential workers

 

Press Release re Essential Workers Testing

Essential Workers COVID-19 Testing Schedule Update

29 April, 2020

The Ministry of National Security is advising the public of the new swabbing schedule for essential workers requiring COVID-19 testing.

Effective now through Friday, May 1, essential workers can schedule their appointment from 2.00 p.m. until 7.00 p.m. Walk-ins are also welcome.

Please bring the confirmation number provided to you via the email for your screening. As part of the testing protocol, please remain in your car, with a mask on and your windows up until otherwise directed.

The Ministry of National Security thanks the public for their cooperation.

Ministry of Health Press Release

25 April COVID-19 Update

25 April, 2020

On Friday and Saturday the Ministry of Health received 223 new test results; of which ten were positive for COVID-19 and 213 were negative.

Bermuda’s total confirmed positive cases is now 109, as follows:

  • there are 65 active cases, of which:
  • 54 persons are under active public health monitoring, and
  • 11 persons are hospitalised;
  • 39 have now recovered, and
  • the total deceased remains at 5.

The average age of persons hospitalized remains at 74, and ages range between 57 and 91 years. The average age of all confirmed positive cases is 59, ranging from 18 to 95 years.

All of the ten new positive cases were found at Westmeath and in this instance all ten cases were residents. There were 74 tests conducted at the drive through testing facility for essential workers, and all 74 tests were negative for COVID-19.

The Minister of Health the Hon. Kim Wilson JP MP said, “There have been questions regarding why we did not release these figures at last night’s press conference. The answer is that it would have been unethical and insensitive of us to release them publically before ensuring that the affected persons and their families and doctors were informed first. We cannot rush the correct process to satisfy the thirst for information. I ask those who are critical of this approach to imagine how you would feel and react if your family member were a resident in a care home and you heard on the news there was ‘x amount’ of positive cases there. You would, quite rightly, worry that your loved one may be among those numbers. It creates unnecessary worry during an already stressful time.

“This is why I was so disappointed last night to see that private information that was known only to a handful of people outside of the Ministry of Health was leaked to the media and one of our local news outlets had reported this information prematurely. This action shows a complete lack of regard for patient confidentiality and sensitivity to residents, families and staff on behalf of whomever leaked this information to the press.

“We are not hiding anything; we have been transparent from the beginning whenever there is a public health threat regarding COVID-19.

“I also wish to address why we did not alert the public when we had our first positive case which was traced to Westmeath. As stated by the Chief Medical Officer, that case did not involve a resident, was appropriately contained and, in fact, as it turned out, this case was not linked to the second or third cases. We do not want to create unfounded fear among or stigma towards any facility. Investigations were carried out and risk was appropriately contained after the first case. When and if there is a public health risk in any setting, the Ministry of Health will inform the public through official channels.

“Also, there have been many questions asked by the media which may indirectly disclose the identity of positive cases. This is a risk we simply cannot take. Public health reporting relies on a foundation of trust between the public and public health officials. If people feel they cannot trust public health officials to protect their identity and information, they will not be truthful in their reporting.  With all medical information, there is patient confidentiality that the Ministry of Health and the Government as a whole must protect and respect.

“As we are a very small community it is very easy to identify persons and so even names of organizations would make it easy to identify a person. We adhere to the policy of not sharing the granular details of outbreak investigation and case management. This is public health ethical practice. The public needs to know that we safeguard their privacy throughout our investigations.  The investigation must be allowed to unfold.  In response to symptomatic residents or staff, case management starts immediately; those who need to be communicated with are contacted right away.

“Also, I want to make it clear why all residents and staff at Westmeath were not tested after the first and second positive case was traced to Westmeath; it was because the characteristics of the case did not warrant testing at the time. When these occurred, the case criteria, which is linked to testing capacity, were not met.

“Since that time, Bermuda’s testing capacity has been significantly bolstered and the Government’s policy is to test all residents and staff at all rest homes, which is being done now. Residents and staff at four rest homes have been tested, and all rest homes will be completed to ensure that we identify any possible outbreaks in our homes.

“Testing is one of a handful of public health actions that occur at the identification of a case. Ordinarily, the procedure is to assess the actual history, the history of attendance at the rest home, the history of inter mingling between a case, and the residence or other staff and the determination is made what is appropriate in the way of testing. As the Chief Medical Officer explained, there is not a knee jerk, or automatic reaction if you identify an individual staff member, that one should test everyone in the facility, or everyone who works at the facility.

“Regardless of testing, when a positive case is identified in any setting, the indication is that there should be a case investigation, which is done in every instance. And then the determination is made as to who is appropriate to test. Public health action takes place immediately. Public health action doesn’t start when testing starts. Public health action includes isolation of a suspected case, assurance that the investigation proceeds quickly so that anyone exposed, through contact tracing, is then assessed and anyone exposed might need to be tested.

“I would also like to differentiate between the role of the Government and the role of a care home in dealing with communication to residents and family where there is an outbreak of infection in a privately owned and operated care home.

“The Ministry is in constant communication with the homes to make sure they are following the stipulated standards and requirements, and enact any given guidance.

Either the resident’s GP or a doctor associated with the home would be notified with the testing results and the doctor would then inform the resident and/or their family members.

“In the case of private care homes, the Government’s role is a regulatory one, requiring the registration of care homes, prescribing standards and providing oversight, support, and guidance.  The Ministry does not directly communicate with the families of care home residents; that is the responsibility of the care homes.

“Lastly, there have been questions regarding concerns of a shortage of nursing home staff during this pandemic. I can report that the Bermuda Health Council and the Nursing Council have a substitute list that will assist with placing staff should the homes require additional staff.”

Bermuda Records Sixth COVID-Related Death

Bermuda Records Sixth COVID-Related Death

Good Day Members of the Media,

The Ministry of Health can confirm that, regrettably, Bermuda experienced another COVID-19-related death at the weekend. This now takes the total number of COVID-19 deaths to six.

The Minister of Health the Hon. Kim Wilson JP MP said, “On behalf of my entire team at the Ministry of Health, I want to extend my sincere condolences to the family and friends of this individual. We know you must be hurting deeply right now; and Bermuda grieves with you.”

The weekend’s testing results and daily statistics will be released at this evening’s press conference.