Bermuda’s Health Minister Kim Wilson has described as “unnerving” the continued rise in the number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases which has forced a popular Hamilton pub and an international company to close temporarily.
Wilson, admitting that “pandemic fatigue” had set in on the island, said five new cases of COVID-19, including a visitor on a flight from Atlanta, had been recorded on Thursday after Bermuda’s country status was changed from “sporadic cases” to “clusters of cases“.
“It is extremely disappointing and, yes, unnerving that the number of positive cases continues to rise,” she told the House of Assembly on Friday, adding that 1,500 people had undergone testing in the last two days and additional tests will be conducted at pop-up testing stations over the weekend.
Confirmed cases now stand at 247 — an increase of 25 over the past 14 days. A seventh Bermuda Hospitals Board staff member working in a non-clinical area has failed a test.
The government also announced that all of the island’s 21 care homes had restricted visitors to protect the vulnerable. Three of Bermuda’s nine deaths from the disease — the last in May — were at two of the rest homes.
Two of the new cases were classified as imported. One of the two was a resident who arrived on the Delta Air Lines flight from Atlanta on Tuesday who tested positive on their arrival test, having had no pre-test.
The other was a visitor who arrived on the Delta flight from Atlanta last Saturday who tested positive on the day-four test, having had a negative pre-test and arrival test.
The three additional cases are residents with symptoms and are under investigation.
Eight staff members at Dellwood Middle School were exposed to the coronavirus on Thursday and close contacts have been ordered to quarantine.
But acting principal Luann Wainwright-Dill confirmed that the school remains open while the Ministry of Health continues contact tracing measures.
Front Street pub the Bermuda Bistro at the Beach confirmed on its social media page that a staff member had tested positive for coronavirus and the establishment has closed its doors until early December.
International company, Aspen Bermuda Ltd, has closed its office “out of an abundance of caution” after a staff member received a positive test result on Thursday.
North Village Football Club has suspended two matches of one junior team after a coach and two children were caught up in school quarantine.
There are now 27 active COVID-19 cases, all monitored by public health officials, but no victims of the disease are in hospital.
Wilson added that the use of electronic tags — required for residents who return without a pre-flight test — will now come with a US$30 charge.
Around 105,000 COVID-19 tests have so far been carried out on the island.