The Malta Independent 20 September 2020, Sunday

Watch: 15 cases of Covid-19 in hospital, one in poor state of health - Charmaine Gauci

Friday, 7 August 2020, 13:02 Last update: about 2 months ago

15 patients out of Malta’s 311 active coronavirus patients are currently in hospital, with one patient doing poorly and the others all in good health.

On Friday, Superintendent of Public Health Charmaine Gauci addressed a press briefing, her first since briefings stopped on 3 June, just over two months ago.

On Friday, Gauci announced that 49 new cases of COVID-19 were registered overnight.

ADVERTISEMENT

This is the second highest single-day amount since the first cases of the virus was found five months ago.

The number of active cases stands at 311.

Malta now has a total of 995 cases, with 675 total recoveries. In the past 24 hours a total of 1,717 swab tests were carried out, with a grand total of 138,430 tests carried out so far in Malta.

Gauci - wearing a mask throughout the press conference, said that there were cases with no symptoms, others with light symptoms, and some who needed to go into hospital. 

Four are at the infectious diseases unit in Mater Dei; three are well but one person, and 84-year-old, is not in the best state of health as the person was also suffering from other health conditions. 

Another four are in St. Thomas Hospital and seven are in Boffa Hospital, she said. No patients are in intensive care.

The Malta Independent asked Gauci whether any of the 49 patients were children attending the summer school programme SkolaSajf. Gauci confirmed that one of the patients was a student who did attend summer school.

Despite parents’ concerns, Gauci reassured parents that contact tracing is under way and that since summer school began authorities are prepared for cases to crop up within schools.

“Children will be attending school, but it does not mean that the child obtained the virus from SkolaSajf, but we have reduced class sizes and increased the distance between children, so that we reduce the risk of transmission.” She also added that children are being allowed out in cohorts to reduce the risk.

She said that one must expect "some cases here and there" once the island was re-opened.  However, with situations where a lot of people met each other in certain activities there was a strong increase - something which she said they never wanted to happen.

Gauci said that the migrants who tested positive for the virus were always isolated and will remain as such until they recover.

Public Health Emergency

This newsroom also asked whether Malta should declare a public health emergency giving the increase in active numbers, Gauci did not give a straightforward reply.

She simply said that health officials are constantly monitoring the situation and decisions are taken accordingly. She said that whatever measures must be taken are taken to control the situation. 

She appealed for people to continue to wear masks, practice good hand hygiene and report any COVID-19 symptoms to the 111 helpline.

Four main clusters

Giving details on the clusters which Malta has faced as of late, she said that 105 of the cases are related to five categories of clusters. The figures show that the majority of new cases are amongst young people; specifically age groups 15-24 and 25-34.

20 cases are related to the weekend-long party called Hotel Takeover - which is the first mass event where a positive case was found - held just over two weeks ago.

Another 33 cases are related to the Santa Venera feast, while a further 33 are related to Paceville as a whole, where Gauci said that the cases have been traced to several establishments.

Another 14 cases have been traced to several English language schools, while another 5 are of children who attended summer schools.

She also highlighted that other cases were sporadic.

Swab tests

Moving on to swab tests, she noted that the number of swab tests had increased in recent days.  Two new testing hubs will be opened, and the number of lab technicians at Mater Dei Hospital has also increased.  The 111 helpline is also being strengthened, she said.

Vulnerable people

Gauci said that one of the major principles remains the protection of those who are vulnerable.  As a result new measures are being put in place at homes for the elderly, where visitors must be behind a Perspex screen and where carers will be regularly tested. “Vulnerable people must take the responsibility to know where they should go and where it is risky or safe,” Gauci said. She said that whilst vulnerable people must be aware of where they visit, everyone should take on the responsibility to reduce the risk of the transmission of the virus.

She said that public health recommendations are such that mass events should not be organised, and indeed it has been directed that these do not happen.  However there are certain events which can take place with certain restrictions as per measures announced, and with a capping of 100 people inside and 300 people outside. Dance floors have also been banned, she said. 

Earlier today, the Prime Minister Robert Abela and Health Minister Chris Fearne addressed a press conference where the Prime Minister said that the situation pertaining to the pandemic was still under control and where Fearne announced new restrictive measures such as the closure of discos, the placement of fines for those who do not wear a mask when it is obligatory, and the restriction of visiting hours at Mater Dei and elderly homes.

  • don't miss