The Ministry of Health said they “cannot confirm the presence of the new variant of Covid 19 BA.2.86 on the island” and explained the Ministry “recently sent samples to the Caribbean Public Health Agency [CARPHA] for sequencing, and the Office of the Chief Medical Officer continues to consult with the UK Health Security Agency [UKHSA] regarding Covid-19 variants.”
Minister of Health, Kim Wilson, explained, “The results of these samples will provide information on the specific Covid-19 variant strains currently circulating in Bermuda. Any public health action will be determined after assessing these results, gauging global health trends and our continued monitoring of the impacts of Covid-19 in Bermuda. The Ministry will also send more samples for evaluation later this month.
“Our local data showed an increasing trend in reported Covid cases to the Ministry of Health at the beginning of August. However, that reporting has decreased. I encourage anyone who suspects they are infected to take an at-home Covid test. At-home tests can help individuals quickly determine their Covid-19 status and take appropriate precautions to prevent the spread of the virus. Individuals who test positive for Covid-19 using at-home tests should report their results to their physician. This reporting is essential for tracking the virus’s spread within the community.”
A spokesperson added, “The Office of the Chief Medical Officer is working with UKHSA and the Pan American Health Organization [PAHO] to procure vaccine boosters. Prioritization will be among persons at most risk for severe Covid-19 outcomes. This includes seniors and persons with underlying health conditions. Once boosters become available, more information will be provided. The Covid-19 vaccine will continue to be an essential tool for protection as we head into the fall vaccination season.
“Everyone can play a role in preventing and reducing the spread of respiratory diseases, including influenza and Covid-19, by following preventive measures such as wearing masks, practising good hand hygiene, maintaining physical distance, staying home when sick, and covering coughs and sneezes.”