Premier David Burt has expressed his anger after a baby – one of four new cases – contracted the coronavirus (COVID-19) because people failed to follow precautions at a Bermuda workplace.
Burt, who did not name the workplace, was speaking at a press briefing on Tuesday night after Minister of Health Kim Wilson reported that the four new coronavirus cases were among 808 test results received on Monday. In all, Bermuda has carried out more than 102,000 tests.
The age range of all 239 confirmed cases in Bermuda, whose country status has changed to “clusters of cases”, is from zero to 101 — with the infant the youngest victim so far on the island.
“The fact that we are dealing with someone who is under the age of one, clearly, is due to the fact that at a workplace people were not following simple and basic precautions,” Burt said, adding “there was an individual who had symptoms who was there for a week, persons were concerned and nothing was done — inexcusable.
“So we are actually now dealing with potential additional restrictions … and we got lucky in capturing the case and identifying the cluster as quickly as possible because individuals had a concern and they took it upon themselves to go ahead and get tested.”
“I’m upset because this is completely and absolutely preventable and it is inexcusable for this particular workplace for that to have happened, completely inexcusable. If there is one place where they should have known what the rules are, it’s that place.”
Burt’s outburst came after it was confirmed earlier in the day that six recent cases were Bermuda Hospitals Board staff members, but officials said they all work in a non-clinical area.
Burt said his Cabinet, which met earlier in the day, had agreed to tighten some COVID-19 restrictions.
He said bars were thought to be the “largest risk factor” and that changes to regulations were expected to include a requirement for bar staff to be screened for the coronavirus with saliva tests.
Burt said police have been asked to take a zero-tolerance approach especially to licensed premises, which he added was not used last weekend after police announced they would crackdown on people who flouted the rules.
He warned that licensed premises which failed to stick to health rules could be shut down for 24 hours.
Changes are also expected to be made to regulations so that larger gatherings will be limited to 50 people, instead of 75 at present, without special permission.
Burt, who said “some people are not as diligent as they once were”, added: “I have no desire whatsoever to revert back to shelter in place … but if we do not all do our part we will be forced to do so.
“We have seen other countries where small outbreaks have turned into larger outbreaks. That is not what we will have here.”
Wilson said that one of the new cases was a returning resident who arrived on a Delta Air Lines flight from Atlanta last Sunday.
Three were transmitted on-island with a known contact — one had household contact with an under-investigation case linked to a workplace. The other two were residents who had close contact in the same household as a case linked to the same workplace.
The island now has 25 active coronavirus cases with none in hospital. A total of nine people with COVID-19 have died here, but none since May.