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Bermuda records new COVID death ahead of vaccine rollout

January 6th, 2021 | Tags:
Bermuda has recorded a new COVID-19 related death just as the country prepares to begin rollout of the coronavirus vaccine. Photo: Loop News Caribbean
LOOP NEWS CARIBBEAN

Bermuda has recorded a new COVID-19 related death just as the country prepares to begin rollout of the coronavirus vaccine.

Bermuda Health Minister Kim Wilson in a statement Tuesday said she was saddened to report that the island had experienced another COVID-19 related death.

"The loss of another life to COVID-19 in the Bermuda community is very upsetting and I offer sincere condolences to the loved ones of the deceased during this extremely difficult time."

The new death takes the COVID-19 death toll to 11.

Wilson said of the 873 test results received by the Health Ministry since the last update eight were positive for COVID-19. She also reported since the last update three cases have recovered and, sadly, one has died. The total recovered now stands at 522.

Since March 2020, Bermuda has recorded 632 total confirmed cases of COVID-19.

She reported that just over 9,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are scheduled to arrive in Bermuda on the British Airways flight this Friday. She said once the vaccines arrive on the island they will be taken immediately to a storage facility.

Wilson said the ministry will begin administering the vaccine doses on Monday, January 11 to healthcare and essential workers who agree to take the vaccine. 

"In this context, essential frontline workers are those who provide services which prevent social disruption and allow society to function and who are also at risk for higher levels of exposure to COVID-19. This includes firemen, police, corrections officers, personnel at the ports of entry and teachers.

"We will also administer the first batch of the vaccine to our most vulnerable, seniors (who give their consent), in rest homes and long-term care facilities. There is no cost for the vaccine and they will be administered at sites arranged by the Department of Health and with primary care physicians who have been approved by the Department of Health."

She explained the vaccine will be given in two doses, with the first dose given next week and the second dose three weeks later. She stressed for the vaccine to be fully effective two doses are required. 

She said the vaccine developed by Pfizer-BioNTech has been approved for use in the UK after meeting strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness set out by the independent Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, which follows international standards of safety. The vaccine has also been approved for use in the US by the Food and Drug Administration.

"Thousands of people have been given a COVID-19 vaccine so far, and no serious side effects or complications have been reported."

She reported that on Tuesday the Health Ministry held a mock vaccination trial exercise at the Hamilton Seventh Day Adventist Church. She explained this was a small exercise designed to provide an opportunity for the Department of Health and relevant partners to assess their ability to document vaccine administration events using the 10 to 8 appointment system and the electronic immunisation registry. She said the drill was limited to the simulated movement of patients through the vaccination process.

"We will have post-exercise debriefings tomorrow to evaluate the exercise and determine what tweaks and improvement are necessary."

She also said as people are returning to the workplace after the holidays she wanted to take the opportunity to remind employers that they are responsible for providing your employees with factual information from health officials and assuring that "return to work after travel guidance" is adhered to, as outlined at www.gov.bm/coronavirus-workplace

"Over 20 per cent of the cases that we had in last month’s outbreaks were workplace outbreaks and transmission. This reveals that workplace standards are often not rigorous enough as employees relax around co-workers. Also, some people return to work too early after travel or even when experiencing symptoms. The Government’s position and guidance remain that persons should work remotely when reasonably practicable. Diligence is needed as cases continue to rise overseas. Through public health officials, we can help to prepare and educate employees without causing unwarranted concern."

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