Premier: More Than 20 In Hospital, 5 In ICU

September 10, 2021 | 19 Comments

There are “now more than 20 residents in hospital with five persons in the ICU,” we have community transmission and “we now have a wave most harshly affecting the unvaccinated” with the outbreak “fuelled by people ignoring the basics and going to work when unwell,” Premier David Burt said.

The more than 20 people in hospital with 5 in ICU is an increase from the most recently released statistics on Tuesday, when there were 10 people in hospital, with 2 in ICU. The Covid result are normally released Tuesdays and Fridays, so we expect to have the full results later today.

Speaking in the House of Assembly today [Sept 10] the Premier said, “In a matter of weeks, active cases have quadrupled to over 500, and there are now more than 20 residents in hospital with five persons in the ICU. My colleague, the Honourable Minister of Health, commented earlier this week how this outbreak had been fuelled by people ignoring the basics and going to work when unwell.

Premier comment sept 10 2021

“The same must be said of travellers and a business who failed to follow the traveller continuum on their return to Bermuda and caused a cluster in a school/camp setting. There are many other examples of persons not following the rules that have been made to prevent the spread of this deadly virus. The culmination of this is that we now have a wave most harshly affecting the unvaccinated – those who cannot be vaccinated due to age or medical condition and those who, to date, have chosen not to be vaccinated.

“We now have community transmission. There are a significant number of cases under investigation, and the increased community testing continues to identify positive cases. In 2020, we would have been considering additional public health restrictions, a curfew, or even another period of shelter in place. But Mr. Speaker, it is not 2020. 66% of our population is fully vaccinated, and the data around this outbreak confirms that its scale and scope is being driven primarily by transmission from unvaccinated persons to other unvaccinated persons.

“2020′s blanket measures that affect all persons and all businesses despite their compliance with the rules will not be immediately applied to this period in 2021. As long as we are able to properly manage the care of those who need medical attention generally and those persons with COVID-19, we have no need to revert to lockdowns and curfews; but, Mr. Speaker, these measures remain a possibility if we cannot take care of the sick in the community.

“Save for changes to group sizes, the details of which will be confirmed by the Honourable Minister of Health later today, there are no major proposed changes to the existing public health regulations at this time – because that which is in place, if properly followed, is enough to keep us safe. Therefore, there will be a re-doubled effort to fully enforce the rules that are in place.”

“Our healthcare workers, deserve better than what our residents are giving them. These dedicated men and women have been working flat out for seventeen months collecting test samples, running tests, collating statistics, sharing information, contact tracing, producing guidance, transporting and caring for the sick, all while still taking care of responsibilities outside of work.”

The Premier’s full statement follows below:

Mr. Speaker, when this Honourable House rose on 23rd July, the country eagerly anticipated Cup Match, witnessing the annual classic and enjoying this summer highlight with family and friends. We did that, Mr. Speaker, and we did so safely. The strict enforcement of practices adopted to keep us safe showed that we could adjust our lives to live with COVID-19 and enjoy different versions of traditional events and celebrations.

Mr. Speaker, since the Cup Match holiday, we have seen an increasingly casual and almost cavalier approach to those very same practices that have kept us safe since the declaration of the global pandemic in March 2020.

Mr. Speaker, just a little over three weeks ago, as case numbers began to rise, the Government announced new requirements for the use of SafeKey for indoor activities where masks were being removed.

Since that time, in a matter of weeks, active cases have quadrupled to over 500, and there are now more than 20 residents in hospital with five persons in the ICU. My colleague, the Honourable Minister of Health, commented earlier this week how this outbreak had been fuelled by people ignoring the basics and going to work when unwell. The same must be said of travellers and a business who failed to follow the traveller continuum on their return to Bermuda and caused a cluster in a school/camp setting. There are many other examples of persons not following the rules that have been made to prevent the spread of this deadly virus. The culmination of this is that we now have a wave most harshly affecting the unvaccinated – those who cannot be vaccinated due to age or medical condition and those who, to date, have chosen not to be vaccinated.

Mr. Speaker, we now have community transmission. There are a significant number of cases under investigation, and the increased community testing continues to identify positive cases. In 2020, we would have been considering additional public health restrictions, a curfew, or even another period of shelter in place. But Mr. Speaker, it is not 2020. 66% of our population is fully vaccinated, and the data around this outbreak confirms that its scale and scope is being driven primarily by transmission from unvaccinated persons to other unvaccinated persons. With our vaccination strategy validated by the protection against serious disease provided to vaccinated persons, we are not where we were in 2020 and not where we might have been with lower vaccination rates.

Therefore, 2020′s blanket measures that affect all persons and all businesses despite their compliance with the rules will not be immediately applied to this period in 2021. As long as we are able to properly manage the care of those who need medical attention generally and those persons with COVID-19, we have no need to revert to lockdowns and curfews; but, Mr. Speaker, these measures remain a possibility if we cannot take care of the sick in the community. We must continue to adjust our lives, to live with the coronavirus, and not so interrupt our lives that we again cannot worship communally, dine out as a family or go to work to earn a living. The people of Bermuda, who by and large are following the rules, should not be subject to further interruption of their lives and livelihoods caused by persons who do not follow the precautions in place that will keep us all safe.

Mr. Speaker, since March of 2020, this Government has provided thousands of tests free of charge. Not one person in this country has paid for a vaccination. The Government has not mandated testing save for participation in sport or in compliance with exemptions granted for large groups. The Government has not mandated vaccination for any resident, in spite of other similar jurisdictions doing so for work permit holders, frontline workers and public sector officers. This has been a study in the emphasis of personal choice, enhanced by public information and constant encouragement to consult one’s own doctor.

Mr. Speaker, the various orders and regulations implemented since March 2020 have been measured and indicative of an overarching aim of keeping this community, and in particular its most vulnerable citizens, safe. None of this changed. None of this will change.

Mr. Speaker, this next phase of moving beyond the pandemic cannot have blanket Government intervention in the management of areas of the economy, cultural life or casual interaction as its cornerstone. This next phase must have at its core a theme of personal responsibility. We must now take charge of our own interactions and act sensibly and safely. This means that if an event is for 20 people, then 20 it must be. This means that if we are in a setting where mask-wearing is mandated or strongly recommended, then you should wear a mask. This means that we cannot act like COVID-19 is a thing of the past and party like it’s 2019.

Mr. Speaker, the stage is set, the information is widely available, and we, as a community, know what we should and should not do in order to keep ourselves, our families, and each other safe.

Mr. Speaker, save for changes to group sizes, the details of which will be confirmed by the Honourable Minister of Health later today, there are no major proposed changes to the existing public health regulations at this time – because that which is in place, if properly followed, is enough to keep us safe. Therefore, there will be a re-doubled effort to fully enforce the rules that are in place. Various elements of the public health enforcement teams will meet later today, and coming out of that discussion, I expect to see broader enforcement of the existing Regulations this weekend and beyond. Large groups granted an exemption should expect to be visited and be subjected to confirmation of the correct use of SafeKey and any other conditions under which the exemption has been granted. Licensed premises and indoor bars and restaurants can expect the same. The enforcement will be broad, and my expectation is also that it will be fair. This is the only way that we will ease the growing pressure on the various elements of our healthcare system, which are stretched and stressed.

Mr. Speaker, the current Regulations provide the Minister of Health with authority to close offending establishments. A recommendation is likely to be made to extend that power to a senior Police Officer in keeping with previous practices under the former Regulations. This power would be used sparingly, but the immediacy it affords will provide maximum protection in the event of an apparent serious breach.

Mr. Speaker, it should be clear that the Government desires a zero-tolerance approach from enforcement agencies. If a place that is required to have SafeKey has patrons present with no valid SafeKey – it should be closed for a period according to law. If a place is not collecting contact tracing details as required, it too should be closed according to law. If an establishment that requires staff to be masked, and they are not masked, it too should be closed in accordance with the law. The Government has implemented a fixed penalty regime, and this too must be employed in the enforcement regime.

Mr. Speaker, before I close, I want to speak to the healthcare workers and first responders of Bermuda.

Mr. Speaker, our healthcare workers, deserve better than what our residents are giving them. These dedicated men and women have been working flat out for seventeen months collecting test samples, running tests, collating statistics, sharing information, contact tracing, producing guidance, transporting and caring for the sick, all while still taking care of responsibilities outside of work. These are our fellow citizens, who have gone above and beyond, often putting themselves in harm’s way. It is not fair to them to expect them to keep up the same pace and diligence when our residents are not following the rules and doing what is necessary to break the transmission of the coronavirus. The abuse that has been hurled in person from persons waiting to be tested, online to those conducting the tests, and by phone for those trying their best to deliver results is not acceptable. In Bermuda, we have become accustomed to results the same day, testing availability the same hour, and people going the extra mile to accommodate last-minute behaviour.

Mr. Speaker, this Government will not heap more stress on our healthcare workers and ask them to do more when they barely have the energy to keep up with their current workload. I must ask all persons in this country to be patient while our healthcare workers deal with this surge; things will take longer than they normally do because those on the frontline are human.

Mr. Speaker, for these last several months, I have placed an emphasis on unity. Unity of purpose has led to the sight of home-porting cruise ships berthed at our ports. Unity of purpose has seen us welcome increased flights and leisure visitors. Unity of purpose has put people back to work and allowed them to again earn in support of themselves and their families. That same unity must now be converted into personal responsibility to preserve and grow what we have achieved. People are still getting sick, some are unfortunately in the hospital, and still, others have sadly passed away.

Now is not the time for us to act with wanton disregard and be resigned to a lockdown to solve a problem caused by that wanton disregard. As a country, we’ve been doing this for 17 months, and now it’s time for each of us to adjust our behaviour, follow the rules, and take personal responsibility to do our part to reverse the current trend and end this outbreak.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

covid-19 divider 1

You can find more information on the links below from our dedicated website BermudaCovid.com, which is the most comprehensive resource and historic record available of Bermuda’s handling of the pandemic.

  • All Charts: Vaccine, testing & more here
  • Timelines: Dates of major developments here
  • Test results: Chart of testing stats here
  • Vaccine: Data covering vaccinations here
  • Dedicated website: BermudaCovid.com

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Comments (19)

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  1. Joe Bloggs says:

    “we have community transmission”

    No kidding Sherlock!

    “fuelled by people ignoring the basics”

    What a revelation!

    “The Covid result are normally released Tuesdays and Fridays”

    Ye, and I dread next Tuesday’s results

  2. Duh says:

    Ppl have mouths to feed. How do we feed our kids when we are in quarantine ? Ppl have been set back years financially because of this pandemic and are trying to stay a float. Even the vaccinated have to quarantine so makes no sense getting jabbed. Ppl are desperate.

  3. Smittenwithlove says:

    Please, if you love humanity, please please get vaccinated!! We cannot live in this turmoil anymore. Everyone is suffering. Please reconsider your decision to not vaccinate yourself and your children for the sake of all of us. Please, we are now begging you.

  4. Unbelievable says:

    To the people who think this is all a hoax or that the vaccine doesn’t do any good or you feel that this is Govt control or your personal freedoms are being trampled on, I have this to say: a member of my family is waiting for back surgery but they can’t have that surgery because the doctor can’t come to Bermuda from the US. And so now your selfish, ignorant and stupid attitudes makes this personal for me.

    Now KEMH is loading up with Covid patients. Get frigging vaccinated. David Burt, bring down the hammer on these people.

    • Believable says:

      You just lost me with your rant. We are supposed to be in this together. We have all suffered one way or another. Please respect our wishes as we have respected yours.

  5. wing nut says:

    Not sure which one is rising more and or quicker, covid cases or the cost of living in Bermuda and the health care.

  6. Here we go again says:

    The unvaccinated are not coming back and spreading it since they in quarantine. All travelers vaccinated or not, should have to be quarantined, tested for safekeys regularly too!!!!! yes, the unvaccinated may be the ones in hospital but if everybody was being honest we would know exactly how many are in there vaccinated.

    • pink buoy says:

      Yes, vaccinated should do at least 4 days quarantine, but it surely seems like precautions have been thrown out by those testing positive, on both sides of the coin.

    • Loquat tree says:

      But they are not all staying in quarantine – says the premier. Don’t forget the hotel is only a short part of their entire quarantine now. Even businesses appear to be not following those travel related requirements, so now we are where we are now.

  7. Ringmaster says:

    The Premier makes reference to someone/a family who ignored quarantine. Why then are they not charged and before the courts? This has happened so often but no penalty, as opposed to the heinous crime of breaking curfew. Until people are publicly named, shamed and fined heavily, and yes imprisoned according to the law, rules will continue to be ignored and the majority pay financially for the few.

    • Toodle-oo says:

      Could it be something (politically) undesirable about them that makes the urge to prosecute unpalatable ?

  8. Travel Out says:

    Bit difficult to not get flustered when….
    1). You get tested at least 48hrs early and find yourself sitting at the airport still waiting on a result so that you could check in.
    2). Then you get a call saying you have a positive result as the check in desk closes.
    3). Your child gets a negative result on your email. Then when you contact gov, they say sorry something must be wrong with your email but your child got their results on the same email.
    4). Then you get told that they wish for you to take another test the next day (Tuesday) and by Friday still no response. Can’t be the email cause your child gets another test result on the same email.
    5). Then you being told things like stop harassing us and you must have amnesia.
    Then after all this you have to come out of pocket to change tickets for god knows when.

  9. Loquat tree says:

    Its strange how none of the reporters at press conferences are asking about how many files have been sent to DPP, how many prosecutions have there been, for what offences and what were the fines. Is there no one in or following the courts any more? Where is the investigative reporting?

    On a similar note, why can’t there be a special covid offences court ‘time or day’ allocation and fast track processing set up, to speed up such cases?

    A person in one country had a prison sentence of 5 years given recently for spreading the virus!

  10. Pathetic says:

    This stupid blame game is getting out of hand. This wave is clearly created from the vaccinated. Its due to the lax rules for the vaccinated that’s created this outbreak. quarantine laws should be the same for everyone. Also why cant Bermuda recognize the people who have had the disease within 6 months as protected like the rest of the world does. if we followed those same rules were past the 70% marker. This is another pathetic ploy by our politicians to have extended power. They knew that if the did not open these events (cupmatch and so on) the would lose all control by sept 30th due to a lack of uptick cases. Im sick of the division this government is creating with half truths. Be straight up with the people. Lets move forward instead of always backwards.

    • Joe Bloggs says:

      “This wave is clearly created from the vaccinated”

      Please present your source for that statement. I am not aware of any scientist who has advanced such a theory.

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