(CMR) Bermuda has been experiencing a spike in COVID-19 cases, which has seen the country ranked third as the most COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents in the last seven days by the New York Times. Worldometers also ranked the Island fourth in cases per million residents in the last seven days.
Bermuda also currently ranks fifth in the world for testing per capita after having completed almost 1/2 million total Covid-19 tests to date.
The country now has over 600 active cases of the coronavirus, with an increase in hospitalization recently.
Kim Wilson, Minister of Health, warned that “If this outbreak continues to spread at this rate, the consequences are dire.”
“We know that the less mixing and movement there is in the community, the less the virus will spread. We would rather not increase restrictions as the reality is that Bermuda cannot afford to go back into lockdown. However, it depends on all of us taking responsibility for our own actions. I would encourage all persons for the next 2 weeks to minimize their movements and keep to their family bubbles,” the health minister stated.
“At the risk of sounding like a broken record, everyone must follow all Public Health Regulations and guidance and take measures to ensure that they protect themselves and their family from exposure to the coronavirus.”
“Stay at least 6 feet away from people who don’t live with you. Masks must be worn indoors, except when eating or drinking. Wear a mask outdoors if physical distancing is not possible or if it is a crowded place. Do not touch your face or cough or sneeze in your hands. Sanitize your hands before touching shared utensils at family gatherings. Wash hands or use hand sanitizer thoroughly and frequently,” she added.
Meantime, the Bermuda Hospitals Board has issued a Disaster Alert Level 3, the second-highest alert level, to staff. According to the Royal Gazette, the alert read:
“We have decided the sustained rise in hospitalizations warrants a move up to Disaster Alert Level 3, so we can focus all resources on the emerging number of hospitalized patients.
“This alert level indicates that we believe there is an immediate and present risk to BHB services due to the number of people having to be admitted for COVID-19.”
The Royal Gazette also reported that staff were warned to be prepared for Disaster Alert Level 4 – the highest category.
Workers were told that business travel was not allowed and any new vacation requests “must be carefully reviewed and only approved if it does not impact the department’s ability to respond to a rising number of COVID-19 cases”.
Bermuda's healthcare system is under pressure, with the country's only public hospital having to open two overflow ICUs last week.