Health chief Charmaine Gauci said today that 37 patients are in hospital with Coronavirus, with one in critical condition.
Out of those 37, 14 are being held in St. Thomas Hospital; eight in Mount Carmel Hospital, six in Boffa Hospital, another six in the Infectious Diseases Unit in Mater Dei, and another two are in other wards at Mater Dei.
Those at Boffa and St. Thomas are there because of situations such as them having vulnerable people at home, meaning that they are moved to hospital in order to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to their vulnerable relatives, Gauci said.
One person is currently in ITU at Mater Dei, with Gauci saying that the person is in a stable condition. One case in the Infectious Diseases Unit meanwhile is in critical condition, Gauci said.
Addressing a press conference today, Gauci said that the number of cases being registered in the past days has fallen when compared to the past weeks.
So far, active cases stand at 406, and total recoveries stand at 1,565 and 198,883 swab tests have been carried out since the pandemic started.
The seven-day moving average shows a decline, which means that the cases are being brought under control, but Gauci said that it is important that the public continues being vigilant as flu season is approaching.
She said that several family and friends clusters have developed over the past days, appealing to one and all to exercise caution when meeting relatives, such as by keeping social distancing and wearing masks.
The same is happening with clusters at the workplace, with several of them developing in the past days.
The average age of the number of cases in the past week has dropped slightly to 39.5 years old, with Gauci indicating that this may be a reflection of the number of cases being found in the workplace.
Giving details about the situation in Gozo, Gauci said that there are currently 11 active cases of the virus in Gozo. She noted that averages of 150 or so tests are carried out in Gozo, although there is capacity for more tests to be done.
She continued to emphasise on guidelines in place, especially with regards to the wearing of a face-mask – which she indeed was wearing throughout the press conference. “We urge people to continue wearing masks and maintaining good hand hygiene and social distance when we meet friends and family. We appeal to those people who are feeling unwell to stay at home and not meet people,” she said.
On the case of migrants, Gauci said that there were 106 cases in total concerning migrants living in open centres, of which two remain active. She said that all those in closed centres are held in quarantine.
242 swab tests carried out at Malta International Airport
Speaking about the measures at the Malta International Airport, Gauci said that 242 swab tests have been made there since legislation regulating countries by introducing an ‘amber list’, with four cases being found out of those since this legislation was enacted some weeks ago.
Change of recovery test
Gauci stated that Malta has changed its requirement for considering a person to be recovered from COVID-19. Previously, a person had to have two negative tests confirming that a patient is recovered from COVID-19.
Now, Gauci said that Malta is following international guidelines issued by ECDC, and confirmed that one negative test is enough to consider a patient recovered.
Health Inspectors carried out 53,782 inspections
When asked regarding an update on fines given out for individuals and businesses not following measures, Gauci said that so far there have been 53,782 inspections on homes. She said that the environmental health inspectors have issued 167 fines for breaching quarantine, 27 of those being positive cases.
She said that around 36 establishments have been fined for breaking rules, whilst 113 people have been fined for not wearing masks.
“We must continue following the measures and wearing masks properly. Many times we see individuals who are wearing a mask and then removing it to speak. As you can see, it is possible to speak and keep your mask on; this will help reduce the risk of spreading the virus,” explained Gauci.
She noted that there are people who have maltreated people working with health authorities, and appealed for people to be cooperative so that the situation with regards to the virus can continue to be controlled.
When asked whether the number of total swab tests which are provided daily include the swab tests on migrants and re-swab tests of positive COVID-19 patients, Gauci explained that the total number of swabs shown daily do include those of migrants and COVID-19 patients. “This number includes those tests on those who have random testing at old people’s homes and mater Dei, all these tests are included.” She explained that the positivity rate is taken by taking the total number positives, including migrants, divided by total number of swabs, so health Authorities have an indication of the rate of positive cases.
When asked whether there are lobbies against the COVID-19 vaccines, she said that in Malta there are no lobbies against vaccines, but she noted that over the years there have been people who resisted with taking the vaccine. “In general we have had good experience with vaccines, particularly when it comes with children, where we see that vaccine uptake is over 95%.”