The Malta Independent 29 May 2020, Friday

Watch: Coronavirus briefing - 15 new cases, 5 recover; 113 active cases from total of 584

Giulia Magri Wednesday, 20 May 2020, 12:24 Last update: about 9 days ago

Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci said 15 Coronavirus cases were registered in the last day, while five have recovered.

This brings the total of cases to 584, with six deaths. The number of active cases is now 113, while 465 have recovered.

She said that in the past day 1,670 tests were carried out for a total of 54,866.

Since yesterday there was no press briefing about the cases registered that day, Gauci gave a breakdown of the numbers over two days.

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Of the nine patients who recovered (in two days), Gauci said two were aged between 10 and 19, four in their 20s, one in the 30s and two in the 40s.

She said that over the past two days, there were 10 people who tested positive after experiencing symptoms, five were cases of people who had been in contact with other Coronavirus patients, and 11 tested positive in spite of not experiencing any symptoms.

Two of the cases of people who experienced symptoms included two boys aged two. The others were men aged 15, 33, 56 (a health care worker at the Gozo hospital), 67 and 72, and women aged 22, 59 and 82 (a resident in an onld people's home). Contact tracing exercises are being carried out to see who came in contact with the new patients, particularly their working colleagues (if any) and other relatives.

Another five cases (over two days) were of people who the health authorities were following via contact tracing exercises. They are two women and three men, One of the women, whose age was not given, is a health care worker in a ward where some people had already tested positive. The other woman, of Indian nationality, is a health care worker at Karin Grech Hospital. A 68-year-old man who was a patient at Mater Dei Hospital on an unrelated case tested positive after he had been sent home and is now back in hospital. The other two men are aged 30 and 35.

The other new cases (over two days) were of people who did not experience symtoms. They included two women, one from Pakistan aged 30 and one from The Philippines aged 29, who are health care workers at Mater Dei Hospital, in different wards. There was also another health care worker, aged 24, at Karin Grech hospital who tested positive and a Maltese woman aged 63 who went to hospital with an unrelated condition and tested positive.

A 26-year-old woman from The Philippines who works in a retail outlet and a 26-year-old male care worker in an old people's home also tested positive. The other cases are five men aged 27, 34, 19 and 24 - no aged was given of one of the new patients.

'Cases are increasing, but country is in transition phase'

Asked whether Malta is currently going through the ‘second wave’, Gauci said that the number of cases has increased in the past few days, but that the country is still in a ‘transition’ phase.

“We are constantly monitoring the situation and if we see the situation gets worse, we don’t exclude the idea of going back on some of the lifting of previous measures,” she explained. “Yes, the virus is still with us, but we cannot wait for the numbers to go up or down, we need to be sure that the population is protected.”

Regarding the R-factor, Gauci said that currently it is above 1, but the situation changes day to day due to the number of active cases and recovered cases.

Due to the fact that the prefabricated hospital is no longer in the plans, Gauci was asked whether the island is well prepared for the future number of cases come winter. “Come winter, we will face a double burden on our hospital as we will also see an increase in influenza cases, but our hospitals are prepared and the new wards in the University halls are to stay.”

Legionella no link with COVID-19

This newsroom asked as to why hairdressers and beauticians must have their water tested for legionella and whether there is any link between COVID-19 and the bacteria. “There is no link between legionella and COVID-19, but the legionella bacteria could have developed in water tanks of establishments which have been closed for weeks. This is why we are asking small shops to empty their tanks and flush the system out.” She said that if the water is not cleaned, there could be a chance for the legionella bacteria could be transmitted also through water droplets in the air. Legionella bacteria can create lung problems.

When asked regarding the number of tests taking place in Gozo and how many active cases there are, Gauci said that data will be published later on.

When asked regarding the antibody tests, Gauci said that once the authorities had finished evaluating these tests, the population would begin to be tested.

Whilst there are 113 active cases of COVID-19, there are currently 291 Mater Dei workers in quarantine.

When asked about the prospect of childcare facilities re-opening in the near future, Gauci said that risk assessment is still ongoing and if educational institutions are to re-open, these will be with mitigation measures.

 

 

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