Video: ‘Anticipate A Rapid Spread Of Omicron’

December 17, 2021 | 16 Comments

[Updated] The Government will be holding a press conference this afternoon [Dec 17] to update the public on Covid-19 and we will stream it live, so the video below should start at around 2.00pm.

Update 10.46am: The Government advised that the press conference will be with Minister of Health Kim Wilson and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ayoola Oyinloye.

Update 2.55pm: The press conference has concluded

The Minister said, “Because this variant is highly transmissible, we anticipate that the number of positive cases of the Omicron variant will increase significantly and quickly.

“We anticipate a rapid spread of the Omicron variant, however, we must collectively do everything we can to avoid mass community transmission. Do not let your guard down.

“Given the mutations associated with Omicron and the passage of time which can impact the efficacy of the vaccine, as of 15 January 2022, all vaccinated persons will require a booster in order to receive a renewed SafeKey. You are eligible for a booster if your second jab was more than six months ago.

“Most, if not all, of the vaccine appointments leading up to Christmas are full now but we are looking at re-starting vaccinations as early in the New Year as possible.”

Update 7.48pm: Minister Kim Wilson’s full statement follows below:

Good afternoon.

Since the last update, the Ministry of Health received 4,124 test results, and 31 were positive for the coronavirus, giving a test positivity rate of 0.8%. Of the 47 active cases where typing is available, 34% [16] are Delta, 60% [31] are Omicron. We have a total of 62 active cases.

While we continue to have the Delta variant, the Omicron variant is dominant – and the number of positive cases has doubled since Monday. Because this variant is highly transmissible, we anticipate that the number of positive cases of the Omicron variant will increase significantly and quickly.

So far, the outbreak settings are in schools and the workplace. The positive cases are symptomatic, though their symptoms are mild. These symptoms include cold-like symptoms, fatigue, runny nose, cough, headache, congestion, sore/scratchy throat, and body aches. If you have these symptoms, stay home even if you do not think you are sick. Better to be safe than sorry.

Most of the cases we are currently seeing are in vaccinated individuals. These are mainly recent travelers, who, by a large margin, are vaccinated, so we expect only the mild symptoms we are seeing.

Unfortunately, our experience with the Delta wave is that unvaccinated people are particularly susceptible to infection and, in significantly greater numbers, they ended up in hospital and sadly many died.

We anticipate a rapid spread of the Omicron variant, however, we must collectively do everything we can to avoid mass community transmission. Do not let your guard down. Do not stop being cautious. Now is the time to be extra cautious.

What really concerns me is that if we get a high number of people in the community sick from the Omicron variant, we may find the number of people is hospital higher than we had during the Delta surge.

A surge in cases would significantly impact schools, businesses and most importantly, it could overwhelm our health care system.

Caution must be taken in high-risk settings – bars, clubs, restaurants, hotels, large gatherings and Christmas parties . . . we must take precautions and stick to the basics. Wear your mask properly, practice good hand hygiene and keep physically distanced from those not in your household.

We know people will be out and about this holiday season with family and friends, so some tips to keep in mind and stay safe…

Prioritise your outings and do not try to go to everything. Try to minimize mixing between households. Take an antigen test before you go out so that you know your status.  A home test is a quick easy way to find out whether you are infectious.

Parents and guardians, please ensure that your children attend approved registered camps over the holidays. Government-approved camps are assessed for Covid-19 compliance by public health professionals, and any unapproved camps risk closure.

Both participants and camp counsellors must know and follow the public health safety measures to reduce their exposure to the virus, and our camps must keep their groups small to decrease the opportunity for this virus to spread. Just as with workplaces, do not send your child to camp if he or she is showing symptoms of Covid-19.

The Government website has a list of approved camps updated weekly. Camp operators should review the Camp Guidance at www.gov.bm/camp-guidance.

As a reminder, all public spaces must have hand sanitiser available for patrons and maintain accurate contact tracing records. This includes all businesses, restaurants, bars, gyms, beauty salons, and workplaces. Contact tracing is an essential part of controlling outbreaks and stopping further spread.

In addition to presenting a valid SafeKey for verification, patrons must provide accurate contact tracing information, including full name, phone number, home address, e-mail address, date and time of arrival.

I encourage all unvaccinated people to get vaccinated. Along with following all the public health guidance, the vaccine against Covid-19 is one of the single most important measures to keep our community safe.

Do the research, talk with your doctor and make an informed decision about getting the Covid-19 vaccine. There is a wealth of information about the vaccines online at gov.bm.”

For those vaccinated people who are eligible, please get your booster. Given the mutations associated with Omicron and the passage of time which can impact the efficacy of the vaccine, as of 15 January 2022, all vaccinated persons will require a booster in order to receive a renewed SafeKey. You are eligible for a booster if your second jab was more than six months ago.

Most, if not all, of the vaccine appointments leading up to Christmas are full now but we are looking at re-starting vaccinations as early in the New Year as possible.

The Omicron variant is spreading quickly, and now is not the time to let our guard down; now is the time to be extra cautious. Our health and safety depend on personal responsibility.

Each of us has a role to play in stopping the spread. Continue to wear a mask indoors and outdoors if you cannot physical distance, practice good hand hygiene, maintain physical distance and download the WeHealth Bermuda app.

Thank you.

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 (16)

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  1. Otrwele says:

    Why is the Minister generalizing the school outbreak. It is nit in the public schools its in the private schools. And you wonder why no one trust your reporting because you only tell half tuths to suit you own purposes

    • Answer says:

      How do we know – are the public schools testing twice a week?

      • otrwele says:

        Because I know of a lot of parents who’s children go to private school home isolated num nuts.

        • Rig says:

          So you know parents with kids in private schools, you really are the oracle. Stop spreading nonsense.

          There is a randomness to this, just stick to the facts.

          The facts are there is a reluctance in public schools to test by some, which is why they stayed closed for so long. In the long run that won’t help. But there are more travellers in private schools because of the expats and that won’t help either.

          Lastly get vaccinated, and then you are much less likely to get sick. Another fact.

          • Otrwele says:

            I’ll take my chances with 98% asymptomatic and recovery rate and less than 1% mortality rate world wide. Now thats a fact yall conveniently dismiss.

          • Otrwele says:

            After you get your booster go right to the back of the line to wait for your next one in another 6 months for the rest of eternity! It hasn’t made a difference have you noticed? Still lockdowns, still mutations, still test , still restrictions.etc, etc. Your saviour vaccine hasn’t change a thing.

  2. question says:

    It is currently impossible to get a booster. They tell us to get boosters, and then do nothing to provide them.

  3. question says:

    If you can’t get a booster, how is it right to make the Safekey subject to having a booster? None of this makes any sense.

    • Otrwele says:

      Oh finally… Now it’s starting to not make sense?lol It hasn’t made sense from the very beginning!

  4. trufth says:

    Serious question:

    Suppose, with all of these home tests being taken, that someone tests positive. Unless they pick up the phone and call Kim Wilson to tattle on themselves and make life complicated for their friends, family and co-workers, how does the Health Dept keep accurate numbers, or even really and truly know what’s going on in the community.

    (Disclaimer: yes, I know, that person needs to take a real PCR test, give out contact info of all of their friends, family and co-workers, then quarantine…blah, blah, blah…in a perfect world…)

    • Otrwele says:

      You mean in a Control tyrant world. Is that what Yiu really want? Then stop complaining about nations lik china cause at this rate we are heading in that direction.
      The world has, and always will suffer from human decisions. AKA “our government’ the so calle decision makers. We do our best and move on . The only alternative to controlling human behaviour is to become a tyrant nation and that doesn’t even work so enough already! Next I suppose I will need permission when to take a piss

  5. The Question to the Department of Health and The Minister of Health, is why are we still highlighting the new variants that continually keep coming, and the vaccine mandates and the Booster roll out, But she consistently refuses to speak to the many treatments that are readily available to prevent people from becoming gravely ill from Covid-19 and/or being hospitalized, and/or dying.

    Than just today December 17th the Governor of Florida announced a major breakthrough, for persons who have never contracted the Covid-19 disease, there’s now a new drug that these persons can take which is a preventative measure to all who have not caught Covid-19 and will keep you from catching it, this is a ground breaking drug, along the already 5-6 treatments that are readily available to those who already have the disease.

    We are continually being kept in the dark to the real Science and the availabilities of methods that have been FDA Approved, but Bermuda seems to have an issue in really saving lives, the Minister of Health would rather stick with the vaccines and Boosters only anything else is not acceptable.

    • sandgrownan says:

      Ah, the Gov of Florida. That well known follower of science and reason.

      Got back to sleep Duane.

    • Joe Bloggs says:

      “the Minister of Health would rather stick with the vaccines and Boosters only anything else is not acceptable”

      Yes, the Minister of Health is sticking with real science (see Dr. Fauci and Prof. Whitty) and not subscribing to conspiracy theories. I am happy she is doing so

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