Thirty-seven patients suffering from Coronavirus are being treated in different hospitals, with two of them in a critical condition, Health Chief Charmaine Gauci said today.
There are four patients at Mater Dei Hospital’s Intensive Therapy Unit, with two of them critical, she said when giving her weekly briefing.
There are another six at the Infectious Diseases Unit and eight in other MDH wards. There are then 12 patients at Boffa Hospital, four at St Thomas Hospital and three and Mount Carmel Hospital.
She said the highest number of new cases this week was again related to family and work clusters, while 29 were in nursing homes. Two of the cases were imported.
Gauci said that there are five cases in Gozo and the average age of the Covid-19 cases is now 45.
There will be no changes to the countries on the amber list.
She said that last week an app to aid contact tracing exercises was launched, and nearly 60,000 people had downloaded it – 43,334 on android and 16,394 on apple.
Earlier on Friday, the Education Ministry for Education announced that “students will not start schooling on 30 September but instead they will start on different dates, according to their year group, over a period of not more than one week starting from 7 October. Therefore, while the first day of school will be different according to the respective year group, by 14 October, all students will be back to school.
Asked how this will benefit the students and educators if after a week, everyone will be attending at the same time, Gauci explained that the more mitigation measures we abide by, the more risk is reduced.
She explained that the smaller the groups are, the better, as the risk of local transmission to larger amount of people would be decreased.
Asked about patients who recovered but tested positive again, Gauci revealed that there were four such individuals.
“We are evaluating these four cases to better understand how to classify these cases based on ECDC criteria,” she said.
Gauci explained that this could happen either because of a dormant virus, or if the person who had the virus before is re-infected.
Anyone experiencing symptoms, including those who have recovered, should call the helpline 111.
This week, the St. Joseph’s care home revealed that 113 of 278 residents had tested positive, for Covid-19. 29 staff members also tested positive, and another 50 were in quarantine.
Asked what is being done to tackle the outbreak and whether the home is handing the situation with a shortage of staff, Gauci remarked that the infection control measures were introduced to isolate the positive cases.
Residents who may have come in contact are also being kept isolated until the 14-day quarantine period is over, she said.
Gauci added that no people were allowed to enter the home and have direct contact with the residents in order to reduce the risk. In addition, every resident is being tested once every three days.
“The situation at St. Joseph’s home is under control and we’ve had fewer newer cases,” she said.
Asked about the rate of sporadic cases in Malta, Gauci said that 30% of cases are considered sporadic.
She explained that, “the more sporadic cases are reduced the better as we would be reducing the risk of transmission.”
Answering a question on whether new measures are needed to reduce the risk, Gauci explained that currently we already have a number of laws in place, and everyone needs to do their utmost to follow them. However, not all laws are being followed, therefore more needs to be done to further strengthen enforcement of such measures.
“Enforcement officers are working to ensure that everyone abides by the Covid-19-related laws. We also have other workers from the Malta Police Force, from the Malta Tourism Authority, from Transport Malta as well as LESA who will continue to strengthen enforcement in our country.”
Gauci informed the public that 6 active cases are immigrants and that the 14-day cumulative number of deaths per 100,000 stands at 2.2.