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Video: Govt Press Conference On Covid-19

[Updated] The Government is holding a press conference this evening [April 3] to update the public on Covid-19.

Update 7.36pm Minister of Health Kim Wilson said, “As we enter into the next 14 days, I want to echo the Premier’s words of reassurance and remind the community that we are all in this together. We are all facing hardships of some kind in the days ahead.

“But the price to pay if we do not; is too great to bear.

“We only get one chance to do this and do this right…to stop this virus in its tracks…to ensure our health system is not overwhelmed…to save lives.

We go into this half-heartedly, and lives will be put at risk; businesses and restaurants will be closed longer; our economy will take a greater hit and families will continue to be apart.

“The health of our community is in your hands. Please be compliant. Isolate immediately if you get ANY respiratory symptoms; call your doctor and stay in your own home.

“Another point that I want to stress is specifically for those individuals with chronic diseases: Please manage your chronic conditions so that you don’t run into complications during this period. Take your medications and comply with your doctor’s instructions fully so that you don’t need additional care or hospitalization during the next two weeks.

“Also, I want to remind the public that doctors’ offices are exempt from the impending movement restrictions. Doctors’ offices will not be closed…although some may be operating with restricted hours and services. We do not want a situation where our hospital has a flooded Emergency Room.

“International guidance supports the opinion that maternal health, child services, immunization services, acute illness visits and chronic disease management are services which should continue.

“This brings me to modified clinic services at the Hamilton Health Clinic during the next two weeks…

“The public are advised that there will be no walk-ins at this time. All visits are by appointment only.

“For minor ailments in children as well as child and adult immunization contact 278-6460. Appointments will be available Monday to Friday at the Hamilton Health Centre from 8.30am to 11.30am.

“‘Well infant’ checks will take place from Monday to Friday 2pm until 4pm at the Hamilton Health Centre by appointment only. The contact number is 278-6460.

“For the Maternal Health Program, contact 278-6441. Again, all visits are by appointment only.

  • Antenatals will be seen Monday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings from 8:30am to 12:30pm.
  • TDAP immunizations will take place Friday mornings from 8:30am to 11:30am.
  • Contraceptive injection clinic appointments will be on Tuesdays from 8:30am to 11:30am and Fridays [2pm-4pm].

“For the Communicable Disease Clinic, contact 278-6442. Testing will be carried out by appointment only from Monday to Thursday 8:30am to 11:30am; while consultation and medication collection will take place Fridays from 8:30am until 11:30am. Again, all visits are by appointment only.

“For community Health Nursing services contact 292-3095.

“Regarding testing capability, with the generosity of Roche Bermuda’s supply of two additional testing instruments along with two laptop operating systems to run them, there will be the additional capacity to conduct tests in Bermuda. This will heavily ramp up our testing program as we will be looking to add to our current testing facility to offer more widespread screening of our population to combat this viral outbreak. With the additional testing supplies scheduled to arrive on the BA flight next week, we will be able to test approximately 2,000 persons. Public Health England, through Crown Agents, have indicated that they will provide this same level of testing capabilities to Bermuda on a weekly basis.

“An additional testing centre will be set up and validated according to WHO guidelines, not only to assist the national diagnostic efforts, but also to expose our Bermudian university students who are already educated in the field, and have previous laboratory experience, to what is certainly an emerging field of work. This new laboratory will be under the direction of Dr. Carika Weldon. The new machines and test kits will arrive on Monday on our already announced AirBridge BA flight.

“I want to thank my team at the Ministry of Health who have been working tirelessly over the past 12 weeks to ensure the impact of COVID-19 to our island is minimized as much as possible.

“My staff really have been working long hours – evenings and weekends without break – to do this work.

“We have stressed that social distancing is vital to containing covid. I have remind everyone that to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 in grocery stores, the below recommendations should be implemented:

  • Maintain a physical separation of 6 feet from other shoppers.
  • Use store hand sanitizers entering and leaving the stores.
  • Avoid cash transactions as much as possible and use a delivery option if available.
  • If you bring your reusable bags, sanitize them first.
  • Pack your own groceries so that fewer hands have touched your purchases.
  • Only buy what you need.

“And finally, if you have the responsibility of caring for vulnerable persons in their own homes, there are several actions you need to take immediately to protect yourself and those you care for, to lower the risk of contracting COVID-19.

“These include:

  • Practicing safe, effective hygiene for the protection of your client and yourself.
  • Staying at home if you are sick.
  • Preparing a plan for back up care providers for times when you are ill.

“This is because seniors, healthcare workers and persons with chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease, diabetes or frailty are at higher risk for illness from COVID-19 disease.

“Please look at the guidelines posted on the Government website for full details. Thank you and stay safe and well, Bermuda.”

Update: The Premier’s full comments are here [PDF].